Everybody remembers a good story.  When a teacher tells a story, they immediately have the attention of their students. Storytelling can change learning dull linear topics into a positive experience. In the 21st century, this art of ancient storytelling is enhanced with digital storytelling.

A good story can almost tell itself, but a good storyteller transforms a mundane story into an unforgettable experience to the listeners. Digital storytelling boosts the involvement of the listeners even more by appealing to other senses too.

Below, we discuss how a teacher can get started with digital storytelling in the classroom.

What is Digital Storytelling?

A digital account contains more than the narrative. Modern techniques like podcasts, videos, images, music, and sound create a multi-dimensional story.

The tale takes a few minutes to tell.  Teachers and students may use digital storytelling to describe a personal experience, to instruct the audience on a specific topic, relive a historical event, or to supply information.

According to the Center of Digital Storytelling, a digital story has seven elements.

  1. The story is told from the author’s point of view, how they connected with the story.
  2. The story answers a dramatic question by the end.
  3. Emotional content that connects powerfully in a personal way.
  4. The gift of your voice that personalizes the story helping the audience to understand the context.
  5. Music or sounds that support the storyline.
  6. Use enough content to tell the story without overloading the audience with too much information.
  7. Pace the story to move at the right tempo as the story unfolds.

digital storytelling light

The steps in the process of creating a traditional oral story or digital story start the same way. Then the digital elements are introduced.

  • Brainstorm ideas and choose the one you want to develop into a story.
  • Plan how you would like to tell the story considering the resources available and what you’d like to accomplish with the story.
  • Create a written outline and script of the story.
  • Picture the entire story as a storyboard.
  • Start recording and filming the digital story using your smartphone, apps or available software.
  • Edit the digital story.
  • Your digital story is ready to be published and shared with the audience.

Digital Storytelling Apps and Software

With all the technology and software available, teachers and kids can create wonderful digital stories, provided they have access to the software and the internet. Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Computer’s iMovie  are readily available software to use.

Digital literacies should also be taken into account. Students, teacher, and schools don’t all have the same access or know-how to use specific technologies. Kids who don’t have internet at home should be provided with internet access. Alternatively, assignments should provide means to create digital stories without limited resources available to the kids.

Before students and teacher can use the technology available, there’s a learning curve to learn how to create a digital story. Creating a digital account may be time-consuming. Consider how the time needed will fit into other homework and school assignments.

Here are 16 Apps and Software, teachers and kids, can use to create their digital stories.

  1. iSpringSuite  is a fully stocked eLearning authoring toolkit for PowerPoint. No training is necessary to develop courses using digital storytelling.
  2. Educational App Store provides a list of certified digital storytelling apps.
  3. HitFilm Express gives you free access to a powerful video editor and VFX software 3.7 million people have used to create short movies.
  4. Padlet  provides templates students can use to create their digital story they can share in the classroom.
  5. Animoto helps you create videos or slideshows. The website features other digital stories to inspire you.
  6. Blender is open source software for 3D creation of videos, animations, games and more.
  7. Stellar is a smartphone app where digital stories are published as online books ready to share with readers.
  8. Commaful is another site where people can publish their fiction stories in digital form.
  9. Sutori enables students and teachers to create digital timeline presentations.
  10. Evernote captures ideas, images, audio, and links in one place to stay organized when working on a project.
  11. Penzu is an online journal used by over 2 million writers globally.
  12. Toontastic  turns ideas into 3D cartoons. The predefined cartoon characters help younger kids to tell their story.
  13. Audacity  is a free resource developed by volunteers for audio and audio-visual applications.
  14. SoundCloud  streams music for free from new and major artist around the world.
  15. Paint.net is free photo editing software for Windows that allows you to create layers, special effects and has unlimited undo’s.
  16. Pixlr  is a photo editor available on the web and as an app.

Using Digital Storytelling in the Classroom

You may not even realize that you and your students are already using digital storytelling. If a narrative is mixed with other technology, then it contains the elements of digital storytelling. Here are some ways how to incorporate it into the classroom.

  • Draw Stories. Young kids who can’t write yet can use digital drawing apps to tell their story.
  • Research a topic. Students research a specific social issue. They create a digital story with their point of view.
  • Write a short story. Add another creative element to a writing assignment. Students write a fictional story and then use their creativity to transform it into a digital account.
  • Language learning. The student creates and tells a digital story in the language the student is learning.
  • Create a timeline—Journal progress over time. Students document their development on a journey, g., a bust trip, creating a habit, accomplishing a goal, or developing a relationship.
  • History assignments. Historical figures are shown as characters in a story created by students to relay the history of that person and event.
  • Writing Assignments. Students can learn digital storytelling by placing themselves in the shoes of famous historical figures or celebrities.
  • Science Concepts. Assign a science concept to a small group of students to explain with digital storytelling.
  • Math concepts. Students create digital stories about the same math concept and examples of applying the concepts in life. Each group will tell the story differently. The various ways of presenting the challenging idea may help others to understand the notion from a different perspective.
  • Debate simulation. By creating the main character, students can present their argument to the audience.
  • Virtual tours. Create a virtual visit to teach students about a specific place.
  • Interview techniques. A student may learn the art of asking the right questions by creating a digital interview with someone famous from the past, present or future.

Do you have any other tools you love that we missed? Please share them below in the comments.

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