Our next topic is Digital Storytelling. In the past this topic was combined with Presentation Tools, since the two topics are so intertwined. After all, giving an effective presentation is really all about good storytelling. But the lessons were getting far too long and there are so many great tools to explore, so this gives you a chance to do 2 separate lessons instead of cramming it all into 1 lesson. Keep in mind that there’s still lots of overlap in the tools in these two lessons.
For a great introduction to why storytelling is important, check out this excellent and quick read: 6 Reasons You Should Be Doing Digital Storytelling with Your Students
HELP! There’s a lot of information on this lesson page. Don’t let it intimidate you! Look at a few examples and play with a couple of the tools. You don’t have to look at every tool and resource listed. We just wanted to provide a wide variety of resources to meet all interests.
TIP: To test out multiple tools in a hurry, gather together 5-10 of your own photos and use them over and over. That way you can focus on how the tools work, rather than worrying about the perfect photos and the perfect storyline.
TOOLS & EXAMPLES
Some of the more popular tools with examples and ideas that can be used at a variety of grade levels and for a range of purposes.
- Animoto – (apply for education free education account) Animoto is an easy to use tool to create photo & music video stories. This would be a fun project for an art class. Or to create a video representing how you feel about a book or movie. Upload your photos, arrange the order, select a piece of music and let Animoto do it’s magic. You’ll have a great video slide show with great transitions and effects synched to the beat of the music. Special accounts for educators. Examples: Polar Bears – 2nd grade animoto Celebrating Dr. Seuss on Read Across America Day at Van Meter!, I Watch America Fight
- Photopeach – Similar to Animoto, upload photos, add text and music. Can also include quizzes inside the video. Examples: Opposites – present a class assignment. Identify the Places incorporates a simple quiz
- VoiceThread – Add photos, scanned drawings. Record audio with microphone or ‘phone it in’. Others can leave comments via text and audio. Use for student book reviews with their own drawings and narration. Student created stories with photos or drawings. Narrated slide shows of community events. Book talks. (Note: VoiceThread no longer has any free options.) Examples: North Platte Canteen – VoiceThread using photos, music, voice. Twilight – Carolyn Brook presents a book trailer with VoiceThread
Visual Storytelling – Photos, Text & More
- Exposure, Steller, Adobe Spark – These tools provide templates and design options to help you easily create beautifully laid out stories with photos and text.
Use these for student presentations, creative writing, photo stories, newsletters and more.
- Exposure is web-based with 3 free stories. Stellar is iOS only. Adobe Spark works on the web and
- Exposure is web-based with 3 free stories. Stellar is iOS only. Adobe Spark works on the web and
- Microsoft Sway – Microsoft’s entry into the digital publishing/viusal storytelling realm. “Create and share interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and more.” Lots of options, a little bit daunting at first. Start from scratch or import from PowerPoint, Word or PDF. Create on the Web, Windows 10 and iOS. Probably not for elementary school students.
- Wideo, Moovly, and PowToon – Animated Videos Made Easy – Explains what “explainer videos” are and compare these three tools
- Powtoon – Create slide shows and animated prsentations. Fun tool. Free with an inexpensive premium plan for educators. Example: Super 3 Research Skills from Heidi Neltner
- Moovly – another fun tool for creating animated video presentations. Example: Sarah Jones did a nice post on this with an example
- Wideo – another “explainer video” tool like Powtoon and Moovly. Create short videos, up to 30 seconds, for free.
- TimelineJS – Add photos, videos, notes to tell a story along a timeline.
- TimelineJS has a great way to gather info for a timeline on a google sheet. Check out their timeline creator.
- Time Line Generator from Teachnology – Creates a very simple timeline with up to 6 events. Just fill in a form with date and event and you’re done. No frills.
- Great Timeline Creation Web Tools and iPad Apps
- More web-based and app timeline tools
- StoryBird – Provides beautiful graphics to inspire your stories. Arrange the images as you wish, add text to tell your story. Story can be embedded on other web pages. Book versions can be printed for a fee.
- Animatron – Fun animation toolkit. Includes lots of media to create your own animated stories. Can alos upload your own images and other media. Free account has everything you need to get started. Examples: Staff Picks
- Storify -“Turn what people post on social media into compelling stories. You collect the best photos, video, tweets and more to publish them as simple, beautiful stories that can be embedded anywhere.” Examples: Sidi Bou Zid: A Jasmine Revolution In Tunisia, To Kill a Mockingbird,
SCSC Media Services 2014: Making Connections
- Little Bird Tales -Draw online, upload photos and scanned artwork to create pages. Record your voice to provide narration. Very easy, user friendly interface and kid friendly. Example: Sundancer’s Tale
- Voki – Create a character, add your voice. Examples: Paige Jaeger’s fun Voki, Student created Voki (Molly Clarks’ class)
- Toondo – Fun drag and drop cartoon making tool. Example: Lifecycles
A few more examples
- Don’t Let the Pigeon be the Principal – Book Trailer done with still photos, audio & background music.
- 6th Grade Picture Books Project – Molly Clark’s elementary students at Oswego School District
- Virtual Walk assigments – Mapping and memories.
- StoryCorps – Stories told simply and from the heart. Get the StoryCorps app for Android and iOS.
- Extra Virgin (Olive Oil) Suicide – great use of graphics to tell a news story.
Tools, tips and Resources
- 6 Reasons You Should Be Doing Digital Storytelling with Your Students – a great introduction to why storytelling is important.
- Let’s Present! 21+ Digital Poster Tools & Tips – Tools and ideas for creating digital poster from Shelly Terrell
- How to Incorporate Digital Storytelling to Empower Student Voice – Regardless of the tool you choose to use, planning the story is the first step.
- Digital Storytelling and Stories with the iPad – Even if you’re not using iPads, this is a must read to get context for doing digital storytelling in a K-12 setting.
- Show What You Know with Media – Wes Fryer’s resource includes lots of tools, tips for using them, links to additional resources. Nicely organized by types of projects.
- Try Flippity’s Mix & Match Template to Generate Random Story Starters – Fun idea from Free Tech for Teachers. Flippity Mix and Match template turns a google spreadsheet into a fun random story starter.
- Add Stop Motion Animation to Your Toolkit – A free course on stop motion animation.
- The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Animations – The date on this is 2008, but the content has been updated recently.
- Want more storytelling ideas? See 50+ Web 2.0 Ways To Tell a Story. (a BIG inspiration for all the content on this site – thank you!)
- The 5 Rules of Digital Storytelling Every Teacher Should Know About – Handy infographic with 5 clear steps for creating a compelling story.
- Storytelling in the 21st Century – Frequently updated Scoop.it board with interesting resources.
- Digital Storytelling Tools – An EdShelf collection of apps and web tools, curated by Joyce Valenza.
- Teacher’s Guide to Digital Storytelling – Includes some good ideas for specific projects.
- How To Guide: Digital Story Telling Tools for Educators – Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano – Terrific guide to using some popular storytelling tools. Free downloadable PDF. (more resources on her blog)
Finding Media: Searching for photos and music can take a lot of work, especially if you’re preparing an important presentation and are looking for just the right image to convey your message. Listed below are some tools to help you find media for presentations. The best way to find photos you can legally reuse, is to search for Creative Commons licensed images. Some image search tools have a way to limit your search to CC licensed content.
- IMPORTANT: Check for licensing terms of any photo you download. You’ll need to keep track of where you got the photo to give it proper credit.
Image search tools:
- LibreStock – a meta search engine for 47 sites that have CC0 licensed images.
- Pixabay – My first stop for photo searching. All images are CC0 licensed, free to use.
- PhotoPin – Very easy to use and searches a number of sources for CC licensed photos.
- CC search – search for images, video and music from one search page. Handy!
- Flickr advanced search – Under the “any license” dropdown, select the Creative Commons setting.
- Copyright Friendly Images – a list of resources from Joyce Valenza
- NYPL Public Domain Collection – Over 180,000 digitized items now in the public domain. Great resource!
Music & Sounds:
- CC Search – Search for sounds, music, images and more.
- Sample Focus – Easy to search for sound files.
- Copyright Friendly Music – a list of resources from Joyce Valenza
This learning activity is easy, fun and very flexible!
Basic AND Advanced Activity!
- Step 1: Pick a tool, any tool and create a photo-video show, a story, an animated cartoon or whatever you’d like to share with us. Or pick an idea from the More Ideas list below.
- Step 2: Write a blog post about the tools you explored, how you might use them in your library and school, share other ideas and thought.
- Step 3: Link to your project: either post a link to your project in the blog post OR embed it in the blog post if the tool you chose has that feature available.
*TURNING IN YOUR ASSIGNMENT
- Write & publish your blog post.
- Copy the URL for the post.
- Return to the lesson page on the CanvasLMS site.
- Use the SUBMIT ASSIGNMENT button in the CanvasLMS page and paste in your URL.
*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Canavas LMS system.
More Ideas to Explore
- Pick an iPad or Android presentation/storytelling app to explore.
- Brainstorm an idea for using tools with your students.
- Search for some lesson plans/ideas that you might use as inspiration. Discuss how you might implement them.
- Or any other creative project that involves storytelling/presentation tools.