Tool review: Tripline

Thanks to my buddy Mike Hutchinson, I stumbled across an interesting new tool the other day called Tripline, which allows users to create sweet little photo-enhanced interactive map-based presentations.

As the Tripline guys explain, the possibilities of sharing and learning through locations are almost endless:

At its most basic level, Tripline is a way for you communicate by putting places on a map. That’s a very human activity that has been happening for thousands of years.

We’ve added a social layer to that communication so, whether you’re a regular person or a rockstar, you can share where you’re going, where you are and where you’ve been with the people you care about.

While many users have embraced Tripline as a tool for telling the stories of their favorite vacation destinationsmy personal favorite is the guy that traveled through the West with his dog in his motorcycle’s sidecar — literally ANY topic built around locations can be “Triplined.”

Here’s a sample that I whipped up spotlighting some of the people in the world that my middle school microlending club has helped:

(Click here to see the entire presentation on Tripline’s site.  It’s worth it.)

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Pretty snazzy, right.  And RIDICULOUSLY easy to create.  After thinking through the locations that I wanted to spotlight and collecting pictures from our portfolio on the Kiva website, I think I spent about 35 minutes putting this together.

There are literally TONS of educational applications for Tripline, aren’t there?

And while TONS of educators haven’t discovered Tripline yet, there are some great examples of Tripline’s potential in the classroom already on the site — including this map of Paul Revere’s midnight riide, this map of Lewis & Clark’s Western adventure, and this map of the escalation of the Arab Spring protests.

What I love about the Tripline is that it  makes engaging visual maps possible.  Ask any long-time social studies teacher and they’ll tell you that’s pretty darn valuable.

Here’s how the Tripline guys explain it:

When we first started, I was amazed that map-based visuals of events like these were so difficult to find online. I think now that Tripline exists, that sort of map-based content will have a home.

And the possibilities are endless: author and band tours, charity walks and rides, culinary adventures, fictional trips from books and movies, sporting events, scientific expeditions, etc.

Check it out, y’all.  And consider nominating it as The Best Free Web Tool in this year’s Edublog Awards contest.

It really is THAT good.

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