4 on-line tools for your students to create interactive timelines

January 14, 2014

Quick overview: A timeline tool allows students to create interactive timelines comprised of significant events. Each “event” on the timeline can be expanded on by the student to include text, images, and video. Timelines can be set private, public, or collaborative.

How can it be used in the classroom? Timeline tools can help students organize various pieces of information in chronological order but are not limited to history courses. Could you ask your students to assemble a timeline of incidents that has lead to a major current event? What about exploring their family history, creating a journal, or documenting the life of an important person? Keep in mind that some students may prefer to simply use paper and pencil to assemble a timeline.. and that’s OK! I think it’s all about giving students the choice to whatever approach works best for them.

Any suggestions for a history course? If you’re teaching a history course, you could ask your students to research and assemble an interactive timeline of a historical event. By encouraging them to analyze all the historical bits and pieces and create their own timeline, they may have a better chance of retaining the information rather than just memorizing a few out-of-context dates.

What are the four timeline tools? Since posting about Dipity a while back, I’ve also learned about TimeToast, TikiToki, and TimeGlider. All four timeline tools offer free accounts but with varying degrees of reduced functionality. Here’s a summary of the tools as of August 2013:

  • TimeToast’s free account allows you to create multiple timelines, but some banner ads will appear.
  • Tiki-Toki’s free account limits you to only 1 timeline at a time and is ad supported. The free account allows students to embed YouTube and Vimeo videos.
  • Dipity’s free account limits you to 3 timelines, limited to 50MB, and is ad supported.
  • TimeGlider free account is limited to 3 timelines, 20 images, and is only available to active students below the graduate level.

Benefits and limitations: Your best bet is to start by creating a free account and explore the tools yourself. Even if one tool is more limited than another, which is ultimately the easiest to use? Do you absolutely love one of the tools but don’t like the limitations of the free account? It might be worth signing up! (Thanks to Marie-Christine Kovacs, ETSB, New Horizons for telling me about Tiki-Toki.)

ICT Tip: Dipity allows students to create media rich interactive timelines

November 1, 2011

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:


Link: www.dipity.com

Quick overview: Dipity helps students to create interactive timelines comprised of significant events. Each “event” on the timeline can be fleshed out by the student to include text, images, and video. Timelines can be set private, public, or collaborative.

How can it be used in the classroom: Instead of asking your students to memorize out-of-context historical dates, why not ask them to research and assemble their own interactive timeline instead? Furthermore, timelines need not be limited to events from ancient history. Instead, students could create a Dipity timeline that contains a breakdown of the various pieces leading up to a current event (i.e – political or economic situation) or they can even assemble a family history or bibliography. Here’s an example of a timeline created with Dipity.

Is it free? Yes, the Dipity website allows for free accounts with most functionality intact. One limitation with free accounts is that you can only create three timeliness per account, with 150 events per timeline. Regardless, that shouldn’t be a problem for most student work.

Video Tutorial: For a short video (3 minutes) on how to use Dipity, please click the play button below:

ICT Tip: Google Timeline and date specific searches

November 16, 2010

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:


Quick overview: How to search with Google using time specific variables. Great for tracking down information on past news stories and major world events.

How can these tools be used in the classroom? Google Timeline is a tool from Google that returns search results represented on a visual timeline with units representing years or months. This technique can be useful when your students would like to explore similar topics and themes that have occurred in the past.

How does the timeline search work? For example, typing in “oil spill” would likely show two significant peaks (of search results) on a Google Timeline graph from 1960 to 2010. The first peak would likely be in 1989 with the Exxon Valdez oil spill while the second peak would likely be in 2010 with the Deepwater Horizon distaster.

How does date specific search work? You can also instruct Google to return searches from a specific date range. Searching by date range can be useful if your students are researching a current event and would like to see anything new (i.e – last 24 hours or more) has come up since their last search on Google. (Source: Tammy Worcester, ISTE 2010 Denver conference)

Video Tutorial: Click the play button below to see how to search with Google Timeline and date specific results:

ICT Tip: Google News Timeline website – A new way to search the past!

September 8, 2009

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

Quick overview: A website that allows your students to search for specific keywords (i.e – people, places, events, quotes) in old newspapers and magazines. Think of searchable digital microfiche, updated for the web, and free!

How does it work? The Google News Timeline website (newstimeline.googlelabs.com) displays search results in a chronological, graphical timeline. The search history can be set to display days, weeks, months, years, or even decades. In fact, some archived newspapers go back as far as the early 1800’s!  For more recent decades, Google News Timeline will search through more contemporary news sources (web, wikipedia) but it can be disabled in your search preferences, if desired.  

How can it be used in the classroom: While many of our students tend to rely on Wikipedia for their historical research (not always a good thing) they could be instead encouraged to use Google Timeline to look through archived print media. Google News Timeline is like visiting the library all over again.. a truly fascinating site, definitely worth a look! (Source: Susan van Gelder, LEARN)

Video Tutorial: To see an on-line video overview of how the Google News Timeline site works, click the large play button below:



Note: If you are interested in a website that will allow your students to read through current newspapers, please consult my other ICT Blog posting featuring the Newseum website.

google news timeline is a web application that organizes search results chronologically. It allows users to view news and other data sources on a browsable, graphical timeline. Available data sources include recent and historical news, scanned newspapers and magazines, blog posts, sports scores, and information about various types of media, like music albums and movies.

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