Monday, July 23, 2012

Schoolhouse Crew Review: Knowledge Quest TimeMaps Collection for Mac

I like using a lot of maps and timelines in all of our studies.  Not only does it tie all of our Geography and History together, but it helps us see where our studies in Bible or of various composers, inventors, etc., fit in.  When I was growing up, I studied Bible at church and camp and studied composers for my piano lessons, but I gave little thought to what else was going on in the world in each time period.  Placing these items on a timeline puts them in perspective and gives us greater understanding of what other influences, such as war or foreign governments, might have been at work at the time.

Some time ago, I found the Knowledge Quest company and purchased several materials from them.  Previously it had been difficult to find, for instance, a map of a certain place during the time period we were studying, and Knowledge Quest always seemed to have what I needed.  I was thrilled then, to have a chance to review their TimeMaps for Mac this summer.

The TimeMaps Collection is a product in partnership with TimeMaps Ltd of the United Kingdom, that combines timelines, historical maps and encyclopedic entries in a way that brings history to life. From the Knowledge Quest website, TimeMaps is described as follows:
“TimeMaps are computer software files that use Flash – a free program from Adobe. Maps are shown in chronological order at the click of a button and progress at your timing, showing how civilizations, countries and continents have changed over time. Quizzes and encyclopedic entries are included and can be turned on and off at your discretion. TimeMaps are a work in progress with many Ancient and Medieval civilizations having reached completion with more historical topics on the way.”
I cannot say enough about how much I love this software for these unique maps.  In the old days, we tried to put maps on a transparency projector and use overlays to show paths and expansions.  I am thrilled to finally have interactive maps that do this right on the computer.  I have been told that the TimeMaps work together excellently with several history curriculums.  We were not currently studying any of the time periods we were given, so we are using the maps to review The Fall of the Roman Empire and European Exploration and Discovery.

As we click through different time periods on the map, we can see various paths move across the land and water, and the colors and boundary lines change to show who was controlling the land.  The upper right hand corner tells us what year it is; a click on the little "i" below the year gives us a pop-up box with encyclopedic information, and a click on the "Q" gives us a list of quiz questions.  The maps play in Adobe Flash Player, which can be downloaded from the Internet for free.  Why didn't we have stuff like this in school when I was a kid?!

Each set of maps is also accompanied by a PDF file which contains commentary on the place and time period, suggestions for questions and further activity, and additional information that is not contained in the TimeMaps.  It also contains printable maps and timelines for notebooking, which I think is an important feature, even though we love playing with the interactive ones on the computer more!  All this together could almost be a backbone for an entire history curriculum all by itself, and it has proved to be a fantastic tool for review, but I think it is best used along with the history curriculum you are already using.

Here's the basic info:

Product:  Knowledge Quest TimeMaps Collection for Mac
Ages:  All school-age children
Price:  Individually as a download for either Windows or Mac, each unit can be purchased at $9.95 for an individual license. The complete set of 7 units is $44.95 also as a download for Windows or Mac.  See website for further details and other pricing options.
Other Products by Knowledge Quest:  Knowledge Quest has "historical outline maps, timelines, geography curriculum such as A Child’s Geography and Expedition Earth, historical biographies your whole family will love, engaging mobile apps plus much more."

TimeMaps software is an item I would buy for our homeschool if I had not received it for the review.  You will not find a better tool for teaching history to your visual and/or interactive learners, and I cannot wait until they produce more time periods!

Some of my Schoolhouse Crewmates had the opportunity to review TimeMaps for Mac or for PC, and some reviewed Knowledge Quest's MapTrek.  Click the banner below to see their reviews!


Disclaimer:  I received a free set of Knowledge Quest's TimeMaps for Mac in exchange for a fair review.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.

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