Sweep of Civilizations: BBC interactive map

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) puts genius into their website — very often, it seems to me.

Go see this interactive map. It shows where civilizations or religions held sway, at a point in history you decide — and then projects forward to show how the group’s influence waxed and waned. Or plot two different groups, side-by-side.

Snapshot of Civilisations is a multi-dimensional picture of human history, where you’re in charge of the timeline.

It uses web technology to reveal the sweep of historical forces and the rise and fall of great empires and ideas over 5000 years in a way that no book could ever do.

And it does it your way. You can customise Civilisations to show you the things that interest you. The best way to understand Civilisations is to have a go.

Great bauble for world geography and world history courses — what sort of a warm-up exercise could you make with this, projecting it from your computer? What sort of homework could be made from this, for the kids to access on their own?

Gee, while you’re there, teachers: Take a look at the interactive quizzes on world religions — this could be a unit all to itself.  Hook up your computer, take the quizzes as a class, on that rainy day when you were supposed to go out to look at the school’s garden and you need a ten-minute, cultural filler that sticks to the state standards.  And look at this multifaith calendar.  You can use it for your daily “this day in history” feature; it’s useful for students doing projects on various religions.  Use some imagination.


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