Digital storytelling comes in many forms. Some of those forms include creating podcasts, producing videos, making virtual tours, and publishing multimedia ebooks. The great thing about digital storytelling projects is that they’re relatively easy to modify for the age, content knowledge, and skills of your students. Likewise, digital storytelling projects can be used to tell fiction and non-fiction stories. Here are ten tools that can be used to create digital stories in a variety of classroom settings.
Digital Storytelling With Video
Animate any picture:
ChatterPix Kids is a free app that elementary school students can use to create talking pictures. To use the app students simply open it on their iPads or Android devices and then take a picture. Once they’ve taken a picture students draw a mouth on their pictures. With the mouth in place students then record themselves talking for up to thirty seconds. The recording is then added to the picture and saved as a video on the students’ iPads or Android devices. A tutorial on how to use the iPad version of the app can be seen here.
Make an audio slideshow video
Adobe Spark Video is a tool that I have been recommending for the last four years. With Adobe Spark Video anyone who can make a slideshow can make a video. Students create their videos by creating slides that include an image and some text. Then they record a voiceover for each slide. Adobe Spark will automatically apply transitions and music to the video. The best part is that Adobe Spark Video includes an integrated image search tool to help students find copyright-friendly images. Watch this tutorial to learn how to get started with Adobe Spark Video.
Create a whiteboard-style instructional video
This summer Flipgrid added a handful of new features. One of those new features is the option to create a whiteboard-style instructional video. You can use this feature along with the regular features of Flipgrid to easily create a video that includes instruction drawn on whiteboard background, stickers, and your face and voice. I provide a demonstration of Flipgrid’s whiteboard capability in this tutorial video.
Make a short documentary video
When it comes to making documentary videos I usually recommend using either iMovie or WeVideo. iMovie is free with your Mac (Macbook) or iPad. WeVideo is browser-based which makes it a good choice for Chromebook users and Windows users. Both services provide all of the tools that students need to create short documentary videos. A complete set of WeVideo tutorials is available in this playlist.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Tours
Creating a virtual tour is often associated with geography and history lessons, but many of the concepts used in creating virtual tours can be applied to science and literature lessons. For example, students can create virtual reality tours (example here) or Google Earth tours based on the books they’ve read (examples here).
Google’s VR Tour Creator offers a good way for students to create virtual reality tours that can be viewed in a web browser and or in a virtual reality headset. Tours are constructed by organizing a series of related locations that have Street View imagery. Students can add their own images and their own narration to tours they develop in Tour Creator. Watch this video to learn how to get started using Google’s VR Tour Creator.
Metaverse Studio is a tool for creating your own augmented reality experiences. Metaverse Studio has been used by teachers and students to create augmented reality experiences that work as “breakout games,” as digital scavenger hunts, and as guided tours. Here’s an example of a guided tour made with Metaverse.
Podcasts are more popular than ever before. Today, it is easier than ever to create a podcast. Podcasting can be a good way for students to express their thoughts on a topic, to record an interview, or to simply record themselves reading stories they’ve written.
Anchor is a free service that lets you record and edit podcasts in your web browser. Anchor will distribute your podcast to ten major podcast listening platforms including Google Podcasts and Spotify. You can also upload audio that you’ve recorded outside of Anchor and just Anchor to distribute your podcast. As I demonstrate in this video, you can create and publish a podcast through Anchor in less than ten minutes.
Synth is a free service that you can use to record short podcast episodes that are up to 256 seconds long. When you record your episode you post it publicly for others to listen to and record spoken responses. Synth will automatically transcribe your spoken words and display the transcript when your recording is played. Watch this video to see how Synth works.
Making an ebook can be a good way for students to combine text, drawings, photographs, audio, and video to tell a story or to create a reference resource.
Book Creator is a popular tool for creating multimedia ebooks. It can be used in your web browser for free or you can purchase the iPad app to use it. Students can add pictures, drawings, and videos to their pages. Drawing tools are built into the service. Students can even add their voices to their ebooks. Watch my tutorial to see all of the ways that students can add content to their Book Creator ebooks. For the new school year Book Creator added an autodraw feature that will suggest drawings to insert into a page. You can see the autodraw feature in action in this video.
WriteReader is one of my favorite writing tools for elementary school students. WriteReader is a free service that students can use to create multimedia ebooks. Students can select pictures from a large gallery of drawings, including Sesame Street drawings, and place them on pages in their books. Directly below each image there is space for students to write and for teachers to add corrections. Here’s my tutorial on how to use WriteReader.