Visualization Project

As I completed the Scaffolding Project, it became clear to me how malleable comic book superheroes are, contorting to whatever and whoever the audience at the time needed. The lesson plan needed to be constrained in a certain way to keep its focal point apparent, but I grew more and more excited about how the topic could be discussed and interpreted. A crucial part of the lesson plan I made called for the students to create a graphic timeline illustrating various events and characters that helped form and create the super heroes we know today. This made me want to try my hand at creating my own similar timeline, now using a web-based platform.

Having chosen to do a digital timeline, I was reminded of two of the most crucial pieces of creating anything with these new digital tools: plan ahead and troubleshoot. From the moment I began my project I was met with challenges and road blocks. From the site given two us, the two web resources for timelines that we could choose from were Dipity and Capzules. The link to Dipity didn’t work, and despite my best efforts to access the site, I couldn’t, so I had to choose Capzules by default. The projects created with this platform looked professional, informative, and a similar style to what I had envisioned my project to look like. My time with the site however was cut short as nothing I selected would upload to my project. I restarted my computer, tried from multiple browsers, and scoured the internet for an explanation why but ultimately came up empty handed. Now I had to look for a similar service myself.

I read through multiple lists of the best free web-based timeline creation tools, and found a lot of good sites, but not many offered the exact look or style I wanted. Because these tools were all web based, most offered a very finite system allowing users to upload content, but the overall framework remained rigid and unchanging. I ended up going with Knight Lab’s timeline tool, despite the fact that it required a two-step creation tool that didn’t allow me to get immediate feedback on how it looked. Everything I wrote or linked to had to be organized in a Google Sheets template, copy the URL, take it back to Knight Lab, paste and export. It was annoying since if just one thing was off, I had to start these steps over again – even for minor typos or incorrect dates.

In the end, the effort was worth it as it turned out exactly like I wanted it to, and contains all of the necessary info and imagery I needed. Although I entered the exact dates, time periods, and names I had intended from the start, seeing the actual timeline form did give the idea a much more concrete form. These characters and the way we use them were influenced by so much in their creation, but are also influenced constantly by the evolving times around them. Large tent-pole events have altered these characters through the decades making them the well-rounded and weathered, yet somehow still timeless juggernauts they are today.


5 thoughts on “Visualization Project

  1. Chris,
    I like the platform you used to create your timeline way better than mine. I’ll keep Knightlab in mind for the future. The interface is a lot more aesthetically pleasing and I like that the videos can be played right in the timeline itself, unlike mine. It is incredible how pervasive politics are…even affecting comic book characters. I think you are right in stating that a character like Superman “represents something to anyone who views him.” Thanks for providing me with some insight into this topic.


  2. Utilizing a timeline for your project was such a creative choice. Easy to follow along, and the visuals aid in the topic. I had no idea about the connections between comic books and historical events, very interesting. I like how you connected real life “villains” to the villains in comic books, this could be a point of interesting discussion within a classroom.


  3. Hi Chris,

    Your timeline was informative, and I found it fitting that the site’s called “Knight Lab.” It was enjoyable to read about the history of Superman, and how his treatment has altered with the times. This is an original approach to teaching about superheroes, and I feel your students will have a blast with your visualization. Not only does this timeline let you teach about Superman, but it also incorporates hints of US history. In addition, you’ve picked wonderful images to accompany your text and they all add to your overall project. Furthermore, your palette and font choices fit perfectly with your theme and concept. Well done!


  4. Hi Chris,
    It was fun to see your superhero theme brought out until this final blog post. I think the idea of a timeline is a really neat way to share the story of any superhero. I hadn’t ever realized the connection of Superman to that of a god, so it was interesting while viewing your project! The addition of the video to show the 80’s and 90’s cultural changes was fun. I felt that I got really interested in reading about the history of Superman and then it fell a little short on information within the last 17 years. Maybe one or two specific examples on how this character has been portrayed would’ve been nice to see. Learning about your struggles, is this platform something that you would use again? Overall, you did a really great job!!!


  5. Chris, your timeline turned out beautifully. I would definitely share this with my son who is doing a report on modern and ancient heroes (he will love it). I’d also like to share it with future students who will be inspired by how you presented so much visual, historical and cultural information via this format. Very nice work!


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