Okay . . . maybe not the coolest tool ever. But pretty stinking close.
Google Labs released Google News Timeline about a year ago and I’ve been using it ever since. And I’m very impressed.
It works a bit like the basic Google Search page but focuses obviously on just news stories. I see this being huge for history, social studies and current events teachers. You simply type in a few search terms such as Abraham Lincoln and Google News Timeline spits out a timeline of news stories about my topic.
Google describes the tool as:
a web application that organizes search results chronologically. It allows users to view news and other data sources on a browsable, graphical timeline. Available data sources include recent and historical news, scanned newspapers and magazines, blog posts, sports scores, and information about various types of media, like music albums and movies.
The cool part?
If I type in a date, say . . . 1865, I get news stories from . . . wait for it . . . 1865! Stories from the period about Lincoln’s vice-president, ongoing overseas negotiations and his assassination. Sweet! You can obviously look for more recent dates and events as easily as earlier ones. The ability to drag the timeline back and forth and the list of news stories up and down gives you tons of “searchability.”
Clicking the title of the articles will open another tab with the text of the article. And depending on the source, you might even get a pdf of the actual paper. You can also add more “queries” – basically more newspaper and media choices. Find out more about how the Timeline works on Google’s help page.
It’s a great way to find and gather primary sources documents pretty easily. Depending on the age of your students, it’s also a great place for kids to do research.