Thursday, 26 March 2015

Create interactive timelines with Capzles

I am a big fan of interactive timelines to enhance Moodle pages to make them visually pleasing. I had previously posted a blog on JS Timeline which relied on Google Sheets to produce the timeline however it was not as straight forward and easy to use as one would have hoped for. 
This week I have stumbled upon Capzles, which is a social networking site that allows you to share “moments” using pictures, video clips, audio tracks and text in a timeline format. These moments can be viewed individually, or all of the moments can be viewed in progression.
One of the key advantages of Capzles over similar tools available online is that each point along the timeline can contain multiple multimedia objects to provide a much richer user experience than the usual linear timelines that we have seen.
The ability to leave comments on content is a great option that allows viewers to share their opinions or ask questions about the content they have viewed.

Create your own Capzles account
Navigate to the Capzles home page (http://www.Capzles.com) and click the Join Now, It’s Free button which is situated in the top right hand side.

The Capzles home page you have a number of options:
Capzles Logo (top left corner) – if you need to return to the home page simply click the logo at any time.
My Stuff – after you have created your account, you will be able to make changes to your profile, read and compose messages, add friends, view your favourite Capzles and moments.
Explore this is a very useful option for you to discover publicly available Capzles. Browse these by selecting categories, view top rated Capzles, or view the newest moments:
Create use this option to build a new Capzle or edit an existing one.
Share - share or invite your friends to join Capzles.

1. Create a new Capzle – From the home page select New Capzle from the Create menu.

This will then create a blank Capzle for you:

2. Add Title & Description – give your Capzle a title and description and click the check box (under Description) if you would like the title to appear inside the Capzle.
Beneath those fields you have the option to select the font, size, style, and colour of the Capzle title.

3. Tags & Categories – add tags to your Capzle or select a relevant one from the Categories for this Capzle. If you are creating your own tags remember to use a comma to separate them.

4. Add Content – From this option you can upload images, videos, audio, and text. 

There are three subsections within this menu:

A) Upload directly onto my timeline – use this option if you want your images, videos and text to appear as one Moment in your timeline.
Click Add files to select the files you wish to insert into your timeline and then click the start upload button. Once the upload is complete the content box will close automatically and your Capzle will be open in edit mode.
Each file is now moment in your timeline which has arranged them in chronological order of when they were uploaded.

B) Upload content into a new stack this is a useful option to utilise if you wish to insert multiple files into one moment.
Similar to the Upload content option however this time you are required to provide a title, description and tags. 

C) Blog directly onto my timeline - this option allows you to add text to your Capzle in the form of a blog. Add a blog title, description, tags and text, which  either written directly into the text box or  copy and paste in html code. Once completed click done  button and then you will be able to see the new entry in your Capzle timeline.

5. Design Your Capzle - use this option to change the theme, colour and the background of your Capzle.
To make the change simply pick a theme from the tiled preview options or alternatively design a theme yourself by uploading an image.

6. Add Background Music - use this you can add music to your Capzle by selecting this option. Start by clicking on the Upload Music button.

Then add the file(s) to wish to upload by clicking on add files and then selecting the audio files you want to upload.

By uploading more than one file you can create a playlist for your timeline. Any music that you do add to your timeline will continuously loop whilst viewing.
Use the Move up or Move Down buttons to change the order in which the music is played on your timeline. If you wish to delete a sound file from your timeline simply click on the sound file in the list and then click the Remove button.

7. Capzle Privacy - if you wish to add restrictions who can view your timeline select one of the options from the drop down:
Everyone -  your Capzle is public to everyone
Friends Only - people in your friends list can only see your Capzle
Nobody - your Capzle it is private and no one else can view it.

There is also another drop down menu (Default Privacy for All New Uploads) which allows you to automatically specify what restrictions you wish to place every time you upload new content.

8. Share Your Capzle - this is a useful If you would like to share the link to your Capzle with your friends.

Once you are happy with the content and settings of your timeline click the I'm Finished (top right hand side) button and you will be taken to your live timeline:

Useful tip - to embed your Capzle timeline into a Moodle course or website follow these steps:
When viewing your timeline in normal view, ie not editing mode click the Share button from the options along the top.


9. Embed your Capzles - From the pop up window click the Embed tab and then click the copy embed code, which you can then use to add to your website or Moodle course by adding a label and using the HTML editor option. 

Final thoughts
I found Capzles very well designed and easy to use with some great options over other timeline tools that are available online, such as ability leave comments, to stack more than one item to a moment or ability to add audio. It is a fun and intuitive tool that can be utilised for digital storytelling and presentations. The tool could also be used to organise a Moodle course by presenting all the course materials over the period of one Capzle timeline.


Twitter: @SOASBLETech

SOAS BLE Blog: http://soasble.blogspot.co.uk

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