As any teacher of history knows, keeping all of those dates straight can be quite troubling. Students often get names, dates, and cultures confused. When did the Roman Republic end? When was the imperial period? Who was consul in which year? When was the Battle of Zama fought? It’s a jungle and students can loose their footing.
One strategy that seems to work is to give students a means to create a graphic organizer. In creating graphic organizers, students learn to edit information and organize it in a visually understandable way. Students can gain a snapshot into a particular time period but one problem is how to neatly create a timeline. Often times, this becomes a lesson in itself as teachers have to model and demonstrate what a timeline is and how students can make their own.
There is a website, Preceden.com, that one of my students recently introduced to me that promises to be a great tool for creating content for your course. Students can not only create their own timelines, but they can search for others’ timelines and see examples for how to organize information.
Preceden is free, and offers many flexible options for students to create and share their own timelines. They even have the ability to download a PDF is they wanted to study the “old fashioned way” – via paper. Teachers can create a teacher account, which is $56 for a year subscription, and even allows students to be enrolled into a class without having to create an account. This would encourage collaboration within your class and have students, as a community, create their own timelines around information they are instructed on in their classes.