iPad Apps to Teach Social Studies: Timelines

By Monica Burns 05.12.2014 blog

Students often have trouble putting historical events in chronological order. To truly understand the relationship between events and make connections between different periods in history it’s important to identify when a significant moment took place. Timelines can be helpful tools for students trying to figure out just when the Revolutionary War began or who was president of the United States during a certain era. Students should be able to use these visual aids to gather information, check an answer, and reinforce their understanding of a period in history.

  • Timeline – Art Museum by Netsco can help teachers and students connect world events to famous artists who lived and painted at the same time. This app includes beautiful images and information on everyone from Leonardo da Vinci to Salvador Dali. If you are studying a particular time period or want to make a connection to a specific artist, users can complete an in-app purchase to access more information.
  • American History Interactive Timeline by Touchzing Media is free to download and includes in app purchases. There are audio and video clips of important speeches from American History built into this app. Teens can explore the Gold Rush, the moon landing and more.
  • McGraw-Hill School Education Group also has an app that focuses on this period in history. American History Time Line is easy to use with teen-friendly features. Students can tap on the screen to read more about a person or event as they slide across the timeline.
  • The History of Jazz – an interactive timeline by 955 Dreams is a great choice for bringing multimedia into your Social Studies classroom. With this app teachers and students can listen to music clips and read about famous musicians all in the context of a certain time in history.
  • Ballista has a series of iPad apps that help students dive into different Social Studies topics. There is one called Timeline Battle Castles that includes film clips in addition to images. Timeline WW1 with Robert MacNeil is free for students to try out and includes a sampling of primary source documents from this period Ballista also has an app dedicated to the Civil War that lets users view battlefields by looking at a satellite map.
  • Some timeline apps focus on a specific period in history like American Revolution Interactive Timeline for iPad by Bluecadet. This app is completely free and includes fantastic pictures of objects and primary source documents from this period in history. It includes a wealth of information that is perfect for middle and high school students.

If you are looking to create timelines with your students, TimelineBuilder by Knowledge Quest, Inc. and RWT Timeline by International Reading Association are two great iPad apps. They give students lots of options as they become the creators in their classroom. Teens can apply what they have learned in Social Studies as they make their own timelines.

Have you used timelines in your classroom?  Do you have a favorite iPad app you’d like to share?  Comment below!

Monica Burns is an Education Consultant, EdTech Blogger, and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.


  1. Christina

    i beilive we should have ipads in schools because when you get older your expeted to know how to use ipad!

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