Common Sense Review
Updated October 2016

Sutori

Create and explore interactive timelines, display virtual content
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • Sutori timelines are organized by topic and cover a number of historical events.
  • Each timeline begins with an overview of the content ahead.
  • Teachers can create classes for their students to explore and add content.
  • Kids and teachers can create their own timelines, view the site's built-in timelines, or view other user-generated content.
  • Common Core-aligned lesson plans include aims and activities to do before and after viewing each timeline.
Pros
Interactive features engage kids with first-person accounts and primary source media, and kids can create and share original content.
Cons
The best pre-made content is only available for a fee, and the quality of community timelines varies greatly.
Bottom Line
With interactive features and an imaginative personal approach, it's a flexible and fun tool for the classroom.
Jennifer Sitkin
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Interactive quizzes, embedded videos, and click-to-reveal text encourage active exploration. Students can easily build their own timelines, taking a historical figure's perspective and choosing media to tell that person's story.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Embedded questions provide immediate feedback, and customizable timelines give kids endless ways to access and present information. Developer-produced timelines (available for a fee) include lesson plans aligned to CCSS.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Built-in help center, pop-up windows, and a site walkthrough are stellar, though it would be nice if students could more easily track their progress and favorites. Developers respond quickly to questions. 

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How Can Teachers Use It?

Teachers can use the pre-made timelines, construct their own timelines, or create assignments (like an exam review study guide or final assessment) that require students to build multimedia-rich timelines. Teachers should definitely take time to search through both the developer's pre-made timelines and the community timelines to see what may be relevant for their specific classroom needs. For example, “A History of Immigration of the USA” highlights the experiences of immigrants; “Franz Ferdinand’s Assassination” gives students the opportunity to follow a journalist through a turbulent period. 

Sutori lends itself to solo, partner, or small-group assignments. Teachers should also encourage students to compare how different timelines portray different historical events: How does one author's portrayal of events differ from another author's account of the same event? How is that important? The new collaboaration tool allows two users (or more with a paid subscription) to collaborate in real-time. 

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What's It Like?

Sutori (formerly HSTRY) is tool for viewing and creating interactive timelines. While the pre-made timelines are for use in a social studies class, the community timelines are from all subject areas. For best use in the classroom, teachers create classes and students receive codes to access timelines and to create their own. The timeline template walks users through the creation process, and the timelines are easy to edit and share. There are a number of features available, including text, images, videos, “Did You Know” call-out boxes, click-to-reveal text links, and multiple-choice quiz questions.

The site has both free and paid features. For free, teachers and students can create up to 100 timelines and use community timelines created by other teachers and students. For an annual membership fee, there is no limit to student timelines and teachers can access developer-created timelines that are organized into bundles by subject (like the American Revolution or American Civil War), each with multiple timelines and lesson plans. Timelines include lesson plans (with an overview and time estimate for reviewing the timeline) and CCSS alignment specifics. 

 

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Is It Good For Learning?

Overall, this is an imaginative, flexible resource for teachers to encourage their students to explore historical events, consider the perspectives of the people who experienced them, and research and collect media to illustrate the story they hope to tell. The content on the site continues to grow both in terms of pre-made and community timelines and teachers in all subject areas can find or make engaging interactive tools. The site recently partnered with Facing History and Ourselves to add depth their timelines on racism, prejudice, and discrimination. 

The options for embedding media are endless, and kids will love getting instant feedback on the quiz questions and exploring the videos, images, and pop-up text in their own timelines and within those their classmates create. The developer-created timelines are solid: Kids can imagine what Thomas Jefferson must have felt as he wrote the Declaration of Independence or experience the excitement of Paul Revere's famous ride from the patriot's perspective. 

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See how teachers are using Sutori

Lesson Plans