Story Wheel

Story Wheel

Remember the magical days of slide nights? The click of the projector as each memory is loaded from the carousel? The yawns and drifting eyelids of unfortunate guests as the seventeenth set is slotted into place? OK, maybe for some of the young ones in the audience this not so much a memory, but a history lesson on the world before it turned digital. But there is no doubt that there is something very special and endearing about technology of old.

The good news for anyone that misses the golden years of technology, is that old tech is totally back. With the recent acquisition of retro-style photo app Instagram, there is nothing hotter than bringing back the look and feel of old-shool technology. This is the premise behind the neat, free tool, Story Wheel.


Introducing Story Wheel

Story Wheel is a simple and fun tool that creates a virtual slideshow (not slideshow like PowerPoint, slideshow like an old projector) from your Instagram photo library. Developed by Johannes Wagener and Katharina Birkenbach during the Music Hack Day Boston in 2011, the site lets you record a voice-over story around your Instragram pictures. With the virtual setting of a family living room and the familiar “click” as each slide is swapped, Story Wheel takes retro to a whole new level. Check out this cute example.

So how easy is it to put a Story Wheel together?

1. Link your Instagram account

To get started on Story Wheel you will need an active Instagram account. This is completely free, and if you are not already part of the Instagram community, it is as easy as downloading the iOS or Android app.

Simply enter your Instagram login details and authorize Story Wheel to get access to your images.

2. Pick your pictures

Once linked, all of your Instagram photos will appear in the Story Wheel photo library. All you need to do is choose the pics you want in your slide set and drag them into order.


3. Tell your story

Once your photos are in sequence, it is time to record your audio commentary. This is done via the browser and simply pressing space to jump from slide to slide.


4. Upload and share

Give your slide set a title and that is it! Your presentation is now public and you can use the unique URL to share via any social network or medium you want.


Ideas For The Classroom

There are a few things to consider before jumping into using Story Wheel in the classroom:

  • There do not seem to be any privacy settings on the slideshows created. Be aware that any presentations created as well as the images within them will be publicly visible to anyone.
  • You need to have an active Instagram account. If this is something your school blocks, then it may be a limitation to using the Story Wheel service.
  • Although Instagram allows you to add photos from different libraries (phone, Facebook, Picasa, etc) you do need a smart phone to add photos to your Instagram library.

So, if those considerations are not a problem for you, how could Story Wheel be used in the classroom:

  • It could be a fun and engaging way to present a lesson in class. Rather than just flash up pictures on a screen, this has a little more character.
  • Have students create their own slideshows that they can go on to share with the rest of the class. Perhaps roll it into activities involving old technology.
  • Record a lesson or two for students to watch in their own time.This could be a novel alternative for any teachers working to flip their classroom.
  • Use Story Wheel as a quirky alternative to presenting PowerPoint slides. It certainly would create more buzz at a conference than just another boring presentation.


As a neat retro tool, Story Wheel is another handy one to have in your kit. What other ways could you see Story Wheel being used? And what other potential considerations do you think might need to be addressed?


Image courtesy of Flickr, Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden

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