10+ Timeline Tools, Resources, and Activities

Famous Things Lesson SectionESL-Library’s teaching theme for November is:
Teaching English Through History

“Study the past if you would define the future.” ~ Confucius

Teaching students about historical events can get them excited about learning. The trick is to bring history to life and make it more tangible than a textbook offers. Students need to experience history, not just read about it. One way students can get a perspective about a historical event is to create a timeline. Timelines act as graphic organizers that help learners categorize, sequence, and analyze the events and people that create that particular history. Timelines also help learners to chunk difficult language and summarize in their own words how they understand the history they read about.

Timeline Tools

Below are various free multimedia online tools that your students can use to create timelines of any historical event.

Capzles– Create multimedia timelines on the web or on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad. Add pdfs, videos, music, and images to accompany dates and events.
MyHistro– Create multimedia timelines on the web or on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad. Each event can be labeled on a map and have text, pictures and video added.
Tiki-Toki– Create multimedia timelines on the web with text, images (Flickr supported), and video (choose from YouTube or Vimeo).
Timetoast– This is embeddable in a blog or wiki and allows students to add text and images. This tool is very simple to use and allows for longer descriptions when clicked.
TimeRime– Another embeddable timeline that supports events with text, images, music, and more. Has zooming features and other cool features for educators.
Timeglider– Create multimedia timelines with text, links, and images to accompany dates and events. Has zooming features, allows embedding, and the ability to create legends.
Xtimeline– Create multimedia timelines with text and images to accompany dates and events. Allows collaborative timeline creation and embedding. Under the interactive timeline is room to add links and more information.
Vuvox– mix, create and blend your videos, photos and music to accompany events. Allows embedding and linking to other resources.
Thinglink– This is more a multimedia poster but students can add an image of a historical event then create dates that are linked to multimedia resources.
Animaps– Create an animated video timeline of a map that pops up with text.

A Few Activities and Ideas

Creating a multimedia timeline is just part of the process of bringing that historical event to life, but students can experience more while researching and collecting resources to include in their timeline. Below are a few tips and ideas to ensure your learners get the most out of the process.


  • Students can interview someone who is tied to the event. They can interview someone from a museum or a relative or conduct a Skype interview with a person located somewhere else.

Primary Resources

Digital Reenactments of Events

  • Students can create a digital comic of the event. ToonDoo and Creaza have libraries of historical figures to choose from.
  • Students can create a video or multimedia story of the event using a tool like Primary Access that gives students access to images, letters, and primary resources from the Library of Congress and other places. GoAnimate and Xtranormal also have a library of characters and backgrounds that students can choose from to create a video reenactment.
  • Students can create a talking avatar with Voki that has a library of historical figures to choose from. Students can use their voices to make the avatar speak or type in the text.

Geography of the Events

More Great Websites and Resources

Find more ideas of how to effectively teach history by visiting the resources below:

What other ideas do you have?

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Leave a Comment ↓

  1. Elisa says:

    Nov 28, 2016 at 5:39 am

    Timeglider is really good tool for creating a timeline. Also, Teaching Language Learners with Timelines, 28 Tech Tools to Bring Out the Story in History, and Famous People and Famous Things are all new to me and I can’t wait to learn from them.
    Also, I’d suggest this resource for creating a timeline – http://www.timelinewebsite.com/how-we-create-a-timeline-website-for-you/ – for newbies.
    Thanks for the post!

  2. Juliette says:

    Sep 13, 2015 at 7:10 am

    For more of an image based timeline (a wall of images) with seamless zooming, I think liniaa is also quite a nice tool. I use it to document my son growing up and to keep my vacation photo albums in one place.

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