Telling a Linear Narrative on a Timeline using “Timeline JS”

Teaching history can often require presenting a chronology or a timeline of events. Timeline JS is an online timeline creation tool and a great resource that can be used to present a linear narrative in an interactive, intuitive, and organized way.

Timeline JS is easy to use by just following a few steps outlined in the video above and summarized briefly below:

  • Go to http://timeline.knightlab.com
  • Then click “Make a timeline now”
  • The website will walk you through a few steps:
    • Download the Google Spreadsheet template provided
    • Add the necessary information on the template. Information should contain dates and can include text, YouTube video, SoundCloud audio, images, etc.
    • When you finish adding all of the information you would like to be on your timeline, click File, Publish to the Web in the Google Spreadsheet menu
    • Google will generate a link that will need to be pasted on the Timeline JS website in step number 3: Copy/Paste Spreadsheet URL
    • Click Preview if you want to preview your timeline.
    • In Step 4 you can find a code to embed the finished timeline in a site of your choosing (such as Moodle, WordPress or another web site).

Below is a more detailed video that you can follow for more information.

There are other timeline/mapping tools out there with different approaches to storytelling that may suit your unique teaching style.

Here are some examples:

If geography and maps are more relevant to your teaching material, try Storymap JS to organize and present chronological events on geographical maps.

If you want to tell story about a picture where you can zoom in for example to point out brush strokes or a certain painting technique or to compare and contrast paintings pr pictures, try Gigapixel.

These are some easy ways to engage students in content while incorporating technology into your teaching. Try them out!

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