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.
These photo based tools let you and your students create short videos out of your slides. Some include options for words/captions and music. A fun project for an art class, create a video representing how you feel about a book or movie, share an adventure, tell a story.
- Sharalike – (NOTE: as of Feb 2019, this service seems to be broken. Leaving it on the list, in case it comes back up.) Upload your photos and videos to create a slideshow. Choose from a limited number of slide show styles and transitions speeds. Music can also be added. Key feature is it’s simplicity. Free. (iPad, Android, Web) Example: Finland
- Animoto – (apply for education free education account) Animoto is an easy to use tool to create photo & music video stories. Upload your photos, arrange the order, select a piece of music and let Animoto do its magic. You’ll have a great video slide show with slick transitions and effects synced 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!
- 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.
Visual Storytelling – Photos, Text & More
- Adobe Spark – This has grown into an amazing tool. Definitely one to explore. Free and premium accounts. Web-based and iOS options. Note that Spark replaces and incorporates earlier services: Slate, Post and Voice.
- Create an image with words and photos – a poster, a quote, an advertisment, etc.
- Create a web page with images, video, text, links to other sites (using the “button” option) and more – use this to tell a story, create a timeline, present research process and results and more.
- Create a video with images, text, video clips, add music and voiceovers. Adobe Spark for Education was designed with educators in mind. Read more about this from Monica Burns, an educator and huge fan of Spark. She has lots of great tips on her site.
- Microsoft Sway – Microsoft’s entry into the digital publishing/visual 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.
- Sutori – (Formerly called Hstry) Free and Premium plans. Create a web page with images and text. Format is perfect for a timeline presentation, but can be used for anything that needs to be presented sequentially. Teachers can add students via Google Classroom or through a classroom code. Even with the free plan, there’s a nice interface for managing your students and viewing their work. Students join with their own email addresses and then use the code to join your classroom. Students can collaborate on stories and teachers can leave feedback on the stories. Includes a great collection of ideas for using Sutori in different subject areas. With the $100/year Unlimited plan you can add video, audio, quizzes and more. 30 day free trial of Unlimited plan. If you love the tool, you can apply to be a Sutori Storyteller and get a year’s free trial.
- Exposure, Steller – 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.
- Wideo, Moovly, and PowToon – Animated Videos Made Easy – Explains what “explainer videos” are and compare these three tools
- Powtoon – Create slide shows and animated presentations. Fun, free tool. Also has 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 topic with an example video.
- Wideo – another “explainer video” tool like Powtoon and Moovly. No free options, but discounts for educators.
- 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.
- Google Slides has several timeline diagrams that you can quickly pop into a slide and then edit. Screencast showing steps to add a timeline diagram.
- Sutori – Though you can do much more with this tool, it lends itself nicely to timelines. See notes above for more detail.
- 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.
- History in Motion – Create Multimedia History Stories
- Tools for Creating Timelines in the Elementary Classroom
- It’s about time: a round-up of time-lining tools from Never Ending Search
- 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.
- StoryBoardThat – Such a fun tool for creating comic like stories with simple drag and drop of backgrounds, characters, objects and more. Free account allows for 6 panels per story and 2 storyboards per week. Here’s my example story about friends.
- Toontastic 3D with Google – Apps for iOS and Android. Fun way to create 3D characters, add sound and music. Check out the fun examples on the website.
- Make Beliefs Comix – another wonderfully fun comic strip creator. Up to 9 comic panels. Lots of scenes, characters and objects to choose from. Easy to create a comic without signing up, but you’ll need to create a free account to save your work online.
- ESRI Story Maps – Create professional looking place-based tours and more. Examples: Darwin and the Voyage of the Beagle, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Kilauea: Fountains of Fire.
- Digital Storytelling through Maps
- Little Bird Tales – Draw on the screen or upload photos and scanned artwork to create pages. Record your voice to provide narration. Very easy, user friendly interface and kid friendly. iOS app is free. Online version has a 21 day free trial. Family and teacher accounts are reasonably priced. Example: Sundancer’s Tale
- Voki – Create a character, add your voice. Examples: Paige Jaeger’s fun Voki.
- Toondoo – Fun drag and drop cartoon making tool. Example: Lifecycles
- StoryCorps – Stories told simply and from the heart. Get the StoryCorps app for Android and iOS.
- Virtual Walk assigments – Mapping and memories.
Tools, tips and Resources
- 6 Reasons You Should Be Doing Digital Storytelling with Your Students – a great introduction to why storytelling is important.
- 12 Great Digital Storytelling Apps for Young Learners – Nice collection of tools for the littles.
- Digital Storytelling in the Primary Classroom
- 3 powerful examples of digital storytelling to amplify student voice
- 5 Ways to use digital storytelling in class
- The Art of Storytelling – Storytelling tips from Pixar!
- 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 Tools – An EdShelf collection of apps and web tools, great selection of tools.
- 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. Some of the tools might be out of date, but the ideas are still great.
- Teacher’s Guide to Digital Storytelling – Includes some good ideas for specific projects.
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.
Creative Commons Images and Sound
- Photos for Class – Age appropriate images, Creative Commons. The downloaded images include the citation, very handy feature.
- LibreStock – a meta search engine for 47 sites that have Creative Commons 0 licensed images. (that means you can do anything you want with the images!)
- Pixabay – My first stop for photo searching. All images are CC0 licensed, free to use.
- Pexels, Pikwizard and Unsplash – 3 more CCO image sources
- Gender Spectrum Collection – “The Gender Spectrum Collection is a stock photo library featuring images of trans and non-binary models that go beyond the clichés. This collection aims to help media better represent members of these communities as people not necessarily defined by their gender identities—people with careers, relationships, talents, passions, and home lives.”
- CC search – search for images, video and music from one search page. Handy!
- Creative Commons Edshelf – Image, music and video sources.
- NYPL Public Domain Collection – Over 180,000 digitized items now in the public domain. Great resource!
- Sample Focus – Easy to search for sound files.
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.
- 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 (webpage address) for your post.
- Return to your Google Classroom, find the assignment page for the lesson you just completed and follow the directions for turning in and sharing your work.
*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Google Classroom.