Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2014
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RWT Timeline

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Simple timeline creation tool for a variety of purposes

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Social Studies

Skills
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
2–5
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (5 Reviews)

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Pros: Students can easily create timelines with their own images and text, and elaborate with text that's off the timeline but within the app.

Cons: Customization options are limited, so most timelines end up looking very similar.

Bottom Line: Easy-to-use tool lets students create simple, boilerplate timelines.

Timelines are such versatile tools, and RWT Timeline has enough flexibility that it can be used for presenting any idea in a linear fashion. Science students can create timelines of the lifecycle of a plant, for example, while students in a social studies class can create timelines of historical events. Kids can add timelines to reports to visually summarize a subject's life or a country's history. They can create timelines of events from a novel or short story, or as a pre-writing activity, which would be especially useful for writing personal memoirs. Creating timelines could also be a fun first-week-of-school activity that students could continue to add to throughout the year.

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Students begin by entering a name and choosing an avatar to create an account on a tablet. Usernames don't appear on projects, so students can enter their real names. Students then name their projects, which will appear on the timelines. They also can view examples of timelines organized by date, time, and event, and then start their own projects, beginning with a blank screen with a dashed line across the middle. Students tap a dash to attach an event to it, and then add a label, short description, and image. All appear on the timeline, along with a full description that will be on the printout accompanying the timeline. Students can save a project as a draft and open it later to finish, save it to the camera roll, or email it. Timeline entries can easily be deleted, edited, and repositioned on the screen.

RWT Timeline is easy to use: Most elementary-level students will be able to navigate it, adding photos and text to create their own tmelines. Not much customization is available, so most projects will look pretty similar -- with the same style heading, fonts, and layout. Logos for Read, Write, Think and the International Reading Association appear at the bottom of each timeline, as well, which distracts a bit from the final product. Working on a touchscreen tablet to create the timelines is intuitive, especially for younger students who can tap precisely where they want to place the image or text.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Easily creating custom timelines with their own images and text should engage students, but more options for customization would enhance the experience.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Timelines can supplement students' writing, presentation, and studying, deepening understanding of concepts in a variety of content areas.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Multiple students can have accounts on the same tablet. Students can save their work in-progress, as well as save the final version to the camera roll as a JPG or email it as a PDF.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 5 reviews) (5 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Adam W. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Cornell Senior High School
Coraopolis, PA
Great tool and simple to use, but not many options.
Overall, I think this is a great, simple app. RWT Timeline is very easy to set up and use. Its ease of use also lends itself to a wide range of ages and ability levels. Its simplicity, however, is also one of its downfalls. There are few options available to customize and personalize timelines. You can't change font, font size, background color, etc... There are 43 dashes that are used to add events in your timeline. You cannot add or delete these. There is also a character limit for full descriptions of events. Since RWT Timeline is an app, students must use the same device to access their saved material. Unless your students have their own personal devices or are allowed to take school devices home, they must work on them during the school day. Despite all of those seemingly negative aspects of the app, it still has many positives. As I mentioned earlier, it is extremely easy to use. An elementary student could have great success using this app. A high school senior could also use this app as an extra visual for a bigger project. The app is also available for free on both Android and Apple devices. Images can be imported from your device to add to each event. Although you can only save to the device you're using, you do have the option of saving your timeline as an image (jpeg) file. When your timeline is complete, the other option is to email it as a PDF. I have my students email their completed timelines to me so that I can review them and print them out. As a PDF or JPEG, the timeline can then be imported into another program like PowerPoint or Prezi. Finally, this app does not have to be used solely as a timeline. It can be used to represent the life and music of Franz Joseph Haydn. It can also be used to illustrate the water cycle or photosynthesis. There could be more options and functions on this app but overall I think it is a great tool
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