Review by Mary Beth Hertz, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2016


Create eye-catching multimedia timelines for any purpose

Subjects & skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking

  • Social Studies
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (9 Reviews)

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Pros: Timelines are professional and easy to create; students accounts and group edit function useful for instruction.

Cons: Unless you're doing a one-off assignment, you'll need the premium version.

Bottom Line: Multimedia timelines connect events visually, creating pathways for deeper analysis of any chronological story.

For a teacher wanting to demonstrate how historical events flow and connect, a Tiki-Toki timeline could be the perfect instructional tool. With a premium account, students can collaboratively edit a timeline as a group to demonstrate and present learning. Additionally, students could add to a timeline teachers create to show their understanding of events in an historical time period or novel, or even use a timeline to report their current status on a project they're working on or narrate a personal story. It would be beneficial for teachers to spend some time getting to know the program and its features before introducing it to students. Teachers should create a model timeline to share with students and walk them through the process of timeline creation with a projection device before launching an assignment. It's a versatile program that requires an investment of time and money (to access many of the features and create student accounts). 

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Tiki-Toki is an online, interactive timeline creator (also available as a PC or Mac app). With lots of comparable sites out there, what sets Tiki-Toki apart is its ability to blend traditional chronological mapping with multimedia and text in a slick, professional-looking layout. Students add events with text, images, and even videos and can print, embed, or share their timelines. With a paid teacher account, timelines can be embedded in a class or teacher website. Along with the teacher account, students can create accounts using a class code and can collaborate.

To create a timeline, students first indicate the start and end dates. They can choose a featured image or a background image by copying/pasting the link to an image (which must be copyright-free). Students then add events to specific dates and can add text and media. With a free account, all media must be linked from elsewhere on the internet. Paid accounts allow students and teachers to upload their own images. As students add to the timeline, they can scroll horizontally to view events, or they can view a list of the events in their admin area. Students can share with others by sending their timeline's unique URL, printing, or saving as a PDF.

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Tiki-Toki is one of the best timeline creators, making it easy to build a timeline that's engaging and visually appealing. Timelines, especially those that allow collaborative editing and detailed organization like Tiki-Toki, allow students to gain new perspective on history as well as demonstrate learning. However, teachers should be aware that most of Tiki-Toki's desirable features in this regard require at least $125 per year. For instance, teachers can’t upload their own media, create class codes for group editing, or embed timelines without a paid account, and free accounts only allow one timeline. During this review, I also ran into difficulties with the Flickr integration which made adding copyright-free or Creative Commons licensed images nearly impossible to do. Also, while the site is pretty intuitive, most of the support documents are text-based, which makes them hard to access for ELL students or others who struggle with reading. That said, Tiki-Toki has a lot of potential for facilitating projects and discussion around history, novels, and current events.

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Overall Rating

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

Tiki-Toki is slick and eye-catching, though some students may find its many features overwhelming at first. Students will be drawn to the multimedia options like video, images, and the 3D view. 

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

Students can create professional and clean-looking multimedia timelines. Students can tie dates, images, and text together to create meaning out of historical events, people, or even their own lives. 

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

The admin panel has a built-in Help tab that explains the tool. There are also FAQs and links to sample timelines. All the supports are text-heavy, and there's no video demo available for ELL students or low-level readers.

Common Sense Reviewer
Mary Beth Hertz Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 9 reviews) (9 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Andrew D. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Saint Joachim Catholic School
Costa Mesa, CA
Great app for helping students understand the atomic theory!

Overall, I enjoyed integrating this tool into my class as an activity. The students were able to effectively see the process of the atomic theory. For this activity, I allowed my students to work on it with a partner. It was relatively easy for them to set up, and they were able to share the timeline and work on it effectively with their partner. Once the activity was completed, the students were able to submit their timeline to me simply by the URL. I feel that my students were able to incorporate higher order thinking skills as well as communication skills. I definitely recommend this app to any and all teachers looking to help students organize dates and individuals associated with those dates.

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