ReadWriteThink’s Timeline App

With 140 entries behind me, sometimes I have to try a little harder to think of a new blog topic. My solution? Check out what’s new at!

The first notice to catch my eye was a late June announcement that an RWT creation won an American Association of School Librarians award for Best Learning App. Well. Clearly I had to try this for myself.

I typically use RWT apps on a desktop computer, since lots of classrooms don’t have tablet technology yet. Note: this particular app requires functioning Flash. I also typically skip any how-to video or directions to see how hard it is to achieve a decent end product on my own 🙂

Timeline offers three templates to organize materials: by date, by time, or by event. I chose event and went about designing a timeline for major dates in the history of the English language, which I’ll be teaching in the fall and which all English majors and minors need to know.

I simply clicked on the dotted line, and a little pop-up window prompted me for a title, description, and expanded description that appears on the second page of a Timeline printout. The app also offers the option of including an image (which I did as much as possible via Wikimedia Commons). I could move the resulting timeline entry around so it connected with the anchor dot either on a straight or diagonal line. I eyeballed the line to space out my events more or less reasonably, so events 10 years apart were much closer together than those 150 years apart. Then I clicked Finish and I had a nice, neat PDF of my History of the English Language timeline (2pp). Because I know the content by heart, the whole process took me about 30 minutes, mostly due to image searching.

Here’s what the timeline itself looks like. Page 2 of the PDF, as mentioned earlier, has the detailed descriptions of each date / event.

Example of a Timeline creation

Example of a Timeline creation

This could be a great tool for students to create a weekly schedule, to sequence plot, or to outline the life of an author or historical figure.

To try your own Timeline, check out


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