After several tries on many different days I decided that Dipity was not going to serve my purposes for creating collaborative timelines with my students. I began to research several other web 2.0 tools that are designed for creating timelines. Some of these timelines were Preceden, XTimeline, and Capzles. Although all of these were usable, they weren't exactly what I was looking for. I wanted something very easy to use, visually appealing, and practical for use with my students. I discovered many tools and attempted to watch as many tutorials as I could. Finally I settled on www.tiki-toki.com/ as a good alternative to Dipity. I must be honest, I am looking for a good balance of functionality and visual appeal. I rejected several tools because they lacked visual appeal. After choosing Tiki-Toki based on the promise of beautiful web-based timelines I took a moment to create my own timeline to test the tool for ease of use. In about ten minutes I was able to create a timeline that I could share with my students during college week about my post high school education. I read through the FAQ http://www.tiki-toki.com/faqs/ and zipped through the creation process quite easily. I will go back later and add photos to my timeline. (Finding creative commons images to use was more time consuming than creating the timeline). Here you can take a look at the "beautiful web-based timeline" that I created in less than ten minutes. ( I tried to link to my timeline here but that did not work at all. I'm also unhappy to discover that if I wish to embed my timeline into this blog I have to upgrade. I don't have any intention of plunking down $100 to do that so I'll have to post a screenshot instead even though it doesn't really get the entire picture across.)
I do intend to go back and delve a little deeper into the sight. I want to add photographs to each individual event or "story" and I'd like to see if there is a way that I can condense the time between events so that I can minimize the need for horizontal scrolling.
I'm not particularly pleased to discover that I'll have to pay $100 a year (choke) for a subscription to use with my students, but it may be worth it in the long run. There seems to be some user security and protections built in that might be wise to enable. I could set up a series of accounts where students could create time lines without paying this fee, but in order to provide them the opportunity to collaborate, it looks like I'll have to pay the fee. Here's some useful information captured from the site about setting up a Teacher account.
Although I haven't entirely given up on Dipity, this tool may prove to be a practicable substitute worthy of further consideration. I plan to keep researching tools of this type and perhaps I will find one where students can collaborate without cost.