Storytelling is an indispensable human activity, one that we use not only to convey our identity and experience, but also to convince others of our arguments. Because storytelling is so important, we believe it’s important that we encourage students to tell their stories—and in a way that challenges and inspires them. One way to get students excited about storytelling is by using a medium that they not only love, but are completely comfortable with: technology.
As with traditional storytelling, students must write, but what makes digital storytelling engaging—and often less intimidating—for students is that it gives them the ability to add computer-based images, text, recorded audio narration, video clips and/or music. If you’re looking for a few applications to get your storytellers started, we’ve got 5 of them to get you on your way.
Make Writing Less Intimidating with these 5 Digital Storytelling Apps
Scared of Words (Free)
The folks over at Learn Direct have created two digital story generators that give students visual and textual control over the plot. Once students have customized their character, dragged and dropped animals, food or accessories onto the pages, they’re asked to rewrite words and phrases in the story to reflect those changes. And once your students have created their masterpiece, they can either print or save as a PDF. In addition to this, they can even enter their story into a competition for a chance to have their book professionally printed and bound!
Marvel Kids (Free)
Pop culture can’t get enough of superheroes and neither can our students—which is why you may want to swing by Marvel Kids! We’ve talked about using comic book generators in the classroom before, but this website wasn’t on our radar at the time. With Marvel Kids, users can create a 1 to 3 page panel strip or, if they’re ambitious, a 1 to 22 page comic book where they control the sound effects, characters, thought bubbles and dialogue. Once they’re done, they can save to the desktop or print.
Storyboard That (Free; limited account)
Storyboard That gives students the ability to create rich and powerful storyboards without having to download or negotiate tedious software. Choose from either three or six frame templates and browse their library of over 25,000 images. And when you’re ready, start customizing your dialogue and text boxes.
The app is free, but users can only create two storyboards a day and will have limited editing capabilities. Monthly accounts ($2.79) give teachers unlimited usage and access to a portal for up to 50 students—which means that they can view all of their students’ storyboards, offer editing suggestions or collaborate with students to change them.
Talking Tom and Ben News (Free)
Tom and Ben, a dog and cat news-anchor duo, have a show, but you’re in charge of what they say and do. Younger students will love having them talk to one another, repeat what you say in turns and record it for playback.
Users are also able to customize the app by uploading personal videos! Just press the TV button in the app to record a video with the camera or choose one of your existing videos from your Photos gallery. Once your personal video is in the app, you’re ready to get this canine-feline duo talking.
Student Publishing (Free)
Want to make your students into published authors? No problem, Student Publishing will provide the platform to make it happen. Use Student Publishing’s online book-making tool to illustrate 12-page stories with paintable backgrounds, sticker graphics and uploaded photos. Use the PDF upload option to easily publish work your students create by hand or with other computer programs. But that’s not all! Student Publishing even gives you the ability to create a free, hardbound classroom book up to 64 pages long!
If you're looking for new ways to enhance your curriculum or capture your students' attention, download our guide, Surfing for Substance: 50 No-Nonsense, No Fluff Apps for Teachers.