Flexible Online Timelines

I’ve seen timelines used in almost every level of education and in every discipline of learning. Personally, I’ve had students use timelines to list the major events in a story, create an outline for a specific time period in Social Studies, and break a mathematical process up into steps in order to show how they arrived at a solution to a given problem. While I see no problem with continuing to use paper and pencil (with occasional images and clippings from magazines to add some visual “spice”) there do exist tools online that reduce the amount of paper being used in the classroom, as well as provide a much easier way to navigate, edit, and retool a timeline, greatly increasing the flexibility of timeline creation.

The Read, Write, Think timeline tool provides a way for students to easily manipulate the events of their timeline, allowing events to be edited quickly, and units of measure to be adjusted. Rather than rely on one method of measure, say listing events by their dates, students can easily change the units, insert entries, and delete entries without the mess of eraser shavings. The order of entries can even be rearranged to provide more flexibility while editing. Teachers themselves could challenge students by bringing up the webpage and creating a partially completed timeline and having whole group discussions about what should be filled in the missing entries, only to add more entries as students come up with ideas not considered beforehand. The amazing flexibility of this tool, with the addition of being able to print out your finished timeline in either vertical or horizontal layouts, makes this a great way to use technology to enhance the way both you and your students construct knowledge. Oh, and did I mention it’s free too?


  1. That’s an awesome looking tool there Kymbrla. Since it’s a free site I’m curious how much the advertising intrudes into the web site, but other than that I’m already thinking of ways for my students to create timelines for Social Studies; possibly for a classroom timeline that could be used for reflective writing, or a way to create family culture timelines.

  2. Yeah, after poking around I didn’t see anything else; very encouraging. The only thing for me to do is find a way for my students to get images uploaded. My scanner doesn’t work, we don’t have a digital camera, but if it accepts any image files I can always have them draw images in paint and then upload them.

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