For this week’s blog post, I decided to do a narrative map using the knightlab site. My topic was related to the Geopolitics chapter in Schermerhorn’s book, specifically on the violent events that led up to the Civil War in the United States and that had a hand in leading to the war’s outbreak. I chose this topic because I can remember first learning about this period of time in American history and being confused about the overlapping events and the timeline that led to Civil War. Using a site like knightlab to build a narrative map gives viewers a simple and interactive way of learning that history, something that may work better for some people than a textbook. I also thought that a map would be a cool element to include since the events take place all around the United States, not just the north or south or rapidly expanding west.
We were asked to do at least five slides for the narrative map, and I did seven if you don’t count the introduction. Because there were a lot of different events that could have been included in this list, keeping it to a manageable number of slides was difficult, as was deciding which events were major enough to warrant a slide. In some cases, I attempted to mention other events within slides on other ones. For example, I mentioned the Wilmot Proviso in the Mexican-American War slide, the Kansas-Nebraska act on the Caning of Sumner slide, and secession on the slide for Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 election victory. I also tried to give enough info, without including too much text that could turn off potential viewers to a map like this.
For the most part, the interface was simple to navigate and made the process of putting the map together, easy. However, I had a problem with the color of the font on the slides. They’re sort of gray and difficult to see on the lighter red slides. I wanted the slides to get progressively redder as they went on in order to illustrate the violence and proximity to war as the timeline edged nearer the Civil War. I never did find a way to change the font color, but I figured it wasn’t too difficult that someone couldn’t read it. That was one of my only complaints. It was quite easy to use otherwise. I liked this assignment and only wish that I could have had the time to polish it more completely with things like the font color or maybe better organized info on my slides.