Having students create graphs has been a standard in history teachers’ textbooks since the beginning of history. Writing a timeline is a good way for students to chronologically summarize a series of events and see how the events are connected. When I was a student and when I started teaching, graphs were done on large sheets of paper. For someone with a handwriting like mine and a strong interest in history, there was never enough room on even the largest sheet for the chronology to look good. Today’s students can make graphs online and don’t have to worry about running out of space, nor are they limited to only having text on their graphs.
These are my recommendations for creating multimedia timelines. This list has been updated for the second time this year, as some of my old “go-to” tools relied on Flash and are no longer available, and some tools have been updated.
Chronology JS is a great tool if your school uses G Suite for Education. Timeline JS creates a timeline based on entries made in a Google Spreadsheets template provided by Timeline JS. Your recordings can include videos, images, text and audio recordings. Look this lesson to learn how to use Timeline JS.
Flippity timeline template
If Timeline JS seems too complicated for your students, Flippity.net offers another way to create a multimedia timeline using Google Spreadsheet. Just fill in the blanks Flippity Timeline Template to create a multimedia timeline. in the following video I demonstrate how it works.
Google Slides and PowerPoint
Google Slides and PowerPoint offer templates for creating graphics. Using these templates, you can create a timeline that includes text, links, images, and video. One of my most watched videos is the one for creating timelines in Google Slides. You can also make animated timelines with Google Slides by following the instructions in this lesson.
Sutures is a complete multimedia timeline creation service. Students can create graphics that include photos, videos, and text. As a benefit to teachers, you can not only include media such as photos and videos, but you can also include test questions in your timeline. So if you want students to see several events on a timeline and then answer a few comprehension questions, you can embed those questions right into the timeline.
Padlet is a tool I’ve used for over a decade to create all kinds of multimedia collages and galleries with students. Over the past few years, Padlet has added many new templates for teachers and students. One of these templates is a timeline template. You can use this template to add events in any date format of your choice. Padlet supports embedding video, audio, image, hyperlinks, and text.
Canva is one of those web tools that the more time you spend with it, the more features you discover “hidden” in it. One of these hidden features is the ability to create timelines to save as images and PDF files. Canva has about a dozen timeline templates that you can modify by changing the size and style of text, inserting images, and dragging and dropping other design elements. Watch the following short video to learn how to create a timeline in Canva.
Russell Tarr, history teacher and developer of ClassTools.netrecently released a new template called the Wikipedia Timeline Generator. This free tool will take a Wikipedia article and generate a timeline based on that article. That’s not all it does. You can edit timeline entries to correct dates, edit date-related information, delete timeline entries, and add new dates to the timeline. Timelines created with the Wikipedia Timeline Generator can be embedded in web pages and/or shared with the unique URL assigned to your timeline.
in this short video I demonstrate how to use the Wikipedia Timeline Generator hosted by ClassTools.
Timeline of RWT