Preceden for Teachers

Preceden is a web-based timeline maker that is used by tens of thousands of students and teachers to create historical timelines.

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Let's look at how Preceden can create a better learning experience for your students. If you were teaching a lesson on World War II, you could tell your students a long list of dates like: FDR was president from March 4, 1933 to April 12, 1945; Truman was president from April 12, 1945 to January 20, 1953; World War II lasted from September 1, 1939 to September 2, 1945; the attack on Pearl Harbor was on December 7, 1941; and D-Day was on June 6, 1944. However, that would not be nearly as effective as if they had to create a timeline showing how it all fit together:
By signing up for a Preceden teacher account you'll be able to:
  • Create historical timelines of your own to use in your classes
  • Create a course timeline / lesson plan that illustrates which concepts you'll teach and in which sequence
  • Set up your account so that your students can create their own timelines without signing up for separate Preceden accounts
  • View your students' timelines so that you can review and grade their work

How it Works

Below is an overview of the process for both you and your students. You don't need to remember any of this; we'll walk you through these steps again after you sign up for an account.

1. Sign up for a Teacher Account

You can sign up for a teacher account on Preceden's homepage - make sure you select that you plan to use Preceden for teaching on the sign up form.
Note that Preceden for Teachers is 100% free for teachers and their students.

2. Create a Timeline of Your Own & Explore Preceden

After you sign up for an account you'll be taken to your teacher dashboard. This is where you'll be able to see your students' timelines as well as create your own.
To create a timeline, click the Create a New Timeline button in the section titled Your Timelines (below the Getting Started for Teachers section) :
Preceden will then walk you through how to create a timeline. You're welcome to play around with it for as long as you'd like.

Note that if you eventually choose to share your account with your students, the students will be able to see all of the timelines that you have created, regardless of whether you marked them as private or not. Marking a timeline as private means that people who are not signed in to your account will be blocked from seeing it. As you'll see below, because your students will be signed in to your account they are able to see your timelines.

2. Prepare Your Account for Your Students

First, create one or more classes to keep your students organized.
Organizing your students by which class they are in will make it easier to review the timelines they have created.
On your teacher dashboard you'll now see an  Add a New Class button which will allow you add a list of your classes:
Your students will be asked to select from this list when they create their accounts. Examples of class names include:
  • World History - Period 1
  • Art History
  • Mrs. Smith - Period 3
Next, set a student access password.
In order for a student to sign in to your account they will need to know something called a student access password.
A student access password is a password that you set up, just for your students, so that they can sign in to your account. By signing in with the student access password (and not your normal account password) Preceden will recognize that they are one of your students and not you, the teacher.
You should never give your students your normal account password. Otherwise, when they sign in, they will have full administrative privileges which would allow them to accidentally delete your entire account and all of the timelines in it.
After you've added a class, a  Set a Student Access Password link will be added to the Getting Started for Teachers section, which will allow you to set the password:
We recommend using something simple that your students will be able to remember easily.

5. Show Your Students How to Sign in to Your Account

After you've added a list of classes and set a student access password, your account is ready for your students to use.
Signing in for your students is simple:
  1. Go to Preceden's homepage:
  2. Click on the Log In link on the top right
  3. Have the student enter your email address and the student access password

6. Show Your Students How to Create Student Accounts for Themselves

When the first student signs in to your account using your student access password he will have the ability to create a student account by clicking the Create a New Student Account button: 
This will display a form that looks like this:
There are no restrictions on what the ID can be, except that each ID must be unique within each class (you can't have two students whose ID is Sara, for example). You can use first name and last initial or a student number or even a nick name. The students will use this to identify themselves in the future and other students will see a student's ID next to that student's timelines. Examples of IDs include: 
  • Jimmy M
  • 3927
  • Smith
Important: The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act prevents us from allowing any student who is under 13 years old to enter any of their personal information, including their name. Therefore,  if a student is under 13 they cannot use any part of their name for their ID. If you have students who are under 13, we recommend telling them to use their student number as their ID. If they do not have a student number then simply assign each student a unique number (1, 2, 3, and so on) that they can use to identify themselves.
Each time the student signs in to your account he will have to enter his ID and PIN in order to edit his timelines or to create new ones. 
If a student forgets his PIN you can see what it is by signing in to your teacher account and clicking "edit" next to a student's name: 

7. That's It! It's Time to Create Timelines!

Now that your students have created an account they'll be able to create their own timelines. The timelines that your students create while signed in to your account will always be private; you will be able to view them while signed in to your account as a teacher, but they will not be able to view each other's timelines.   Students can't see each other's timelines.
There is  no limit to the number of students or number of timelines they can have.
Back on your teacher dashboard you can view and edit the timelines that your students have created:
If you have any questions about any of this, please don't hesitate to contact us at
Happy timeline making!


Can students collaborate on a single timeline?

Preceden's teacher plan isn't designed to be used this way, but you can still achieve it by setting up a single student in your class and giving all of the students the PIN number to sign into it.

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