Timelines are useful tools for helping students conceptualize how individual events fit into a given time period. My favorite timeline app is TimelineJS, an open-source tool from Northwestern University’s Knight Lab that lets you build timelines from Google Sheets.
Here is one I built about the Japanese-American internment.
There are only four steps to creating a timeline. The app’s page outlines them, and includes links to templates, but here’s a quick overview:
- Open the Google Sheet template, remove the sample items and add your own content (dates, photos, Tweets, Google Maps, text and media links). The spreadsheet template includes a column for providing media credits. You can leave columns blank, but do not delete or change the column headers. Each row is for a new date and headline on your timeline.
- When you have finished adding your content, head to File > Publish to the web. Remember to click on the “Automatically republish when changes are made” option.
- Grab the link or embed code and you’re ready to share your timeline with your students — and the world.
And that’s it! Have fun creating your own timelines.
Gail Desler is a technology integration specialist for the Elk Grove Unified School District in California. She is a Google Certified Innovator, a Microsoft Innovative Educator, a National Writing Project Teacher Consultant and a Library of Congress American Memory Project Fellow. Gail co-directs the Time of Remembrance Oral Histories Project and co-curates the Digital ID Project. Follow her on Twitter.
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