A screenshot of a timeline slide in TimelineJS.

Several scholars have spoken of digital literacy as an important pathway to specific kinds of critical thinking. Digital timelines, for example, provide opportunities for students to engage with detail, specificity, and chronology in important ways. Further, creating a timeline encourages students to question the limits of depicting history as a purely linear chronology. The difficulty of depicting causality, uncertainty, and plurality all underline the importance of interpretation in historical analysis.

As data visualizations, likewise, timelines can allow students to view history with greater appreciation for macro-historical narrative. Yet any timeline analyzed critically will inevitably raise questions about inclusion, exclusion, and the ramifications of digital representation.

Faculty across the curriculum have found timeline-based lesson plans effective for reinforcing critical literacies and raising crucial concerns about how history is written.