Earlier this week I received an email from a reader named Ashley who wrote, “My classes have been reading Girl in Hyacinth Blue, a reverse chronology of the history of an art work. I would like them to do an interactive timeline to show their understanding of the text. I have never done something like this before. Any suggestions?”
I gave Ashley two suggestions that I will share with any high school teacher who is interested in doing something like what Ashley is going to have her students do. First, Timeline JS offers an excellent way to make multimedia timelines through Google Sheets. Students enter dates, event descriptions, links to images, and links to videos into a Google Sheets template provided by Timeline JS. The timeline is then displayed in full screen with a horizontal scroll. The videos that students link to in the template are played directly in the timeline. And as an added bonus, your students can even include links to Google Maps locations in their timelines.
The second suggestion that I gave to Ashley was to try Sutori.com. Sutori, formerly known as History.co, is a complete multimedia timeline creation service. Students can build timelines that include pictures, videos, and text. As a benefit for teachers, not only can you include media like pictures and videos, you can also include quiz questions in your timeline. So if you wanted to have students view a few events on a timeline and then answer a few comprehension questions, you can build those questions right into the timeline.
Timelines are a staple of the history teacher’s playbook. In Teaching History With Technology I provide detailed tutorials on making multimedia timelines along with seven other lessons on using technology in your history lessons.