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Powtoon: Perhaps the Coolest Digital Storytelling App Alternative Yet

Posted on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 @ 09:08 AM

digital storytelling appsThere are plenty of digital storytelling applications out there, but every time we turn around, something new pops up. While we’re big fans of Storyboard That and Wideo, ladies and gentlemen, this morning we stumbled upon a new favorite: PowToon.

Basically, PowToon is an intuitive piece of software that allows someone with no technical or design skills to create slick, professional looking animations. Free accounts limit users to creating five minute animations, but there is no limit to how many you can make.  

Everything is as simple as drag and drop and once you’ve completed your animation, you can use PowToon’s easy export system to place your animation on YouTube or download it to your computer.

We could tell you more about PowToon, but we thought it made more sense to simply show you. Feel free to skip ahead 45 seconds into the video.

 

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Topics: Best Apps for Educators, apps for educators, digital storytelling

Wideo makes creating animated videos as simple as drag & drop

Posted on Tue, Jul 09, 2013 @ 09:07 AM

creating animated videosWe can’t speak for you, but we’ve long since reached our creative threshold with Power Point. There’s no shortage of alternatives to this trusty piece of Microsoft software, but we can say without hesitation that Wideo is our new favorite.

Wideo makes creating animated videos as simple as drag & drop

This free and intuitive app allows you to create sleek presentations and animation videos—you can even upload audio files (voiceover, sound effects, or music) to enhance your animations.

Everything with Wideo is as simple as dragging and dropping. Browse different pieces of animation—thought bubbles, arrows, text, characters, etc.—or upload your own photos onto a customizable canvas. Now you’re free to rotate, resize, move and dictate where you want your images and how you want them to appear.

Wideo is a nice blend of traditional presentation software and video creation software. The movement and segues of your icons, texts and pictures are shown on the timeline below the canvas (as you’ll see in the tutorial video below), but then each individual action is split up for the user into key frames, not slides.

The most obvious use for Wideo is to create animations that accompany your classroom lectures, but we’ve also had our students use it as an alternative to book reports. You can even use it to introduce yourself to your students on the first day of school!

 

 

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Topics: Best Apps for Educators, classroom technology, apps for educators, apps for teachers, digital storytelling, power point alternatives, creating animated videos

5 of the Best Digital Storytelling Applications

Posted on Wed, Jul 03, 2013 @ 12:07 PM

In our experience, one of the best ways to reach our reluctant readers is with digital storytelling applications. Sure, digital storytelling still involves writing, but what makes it more engaging—and often less intimidating—than traditional writing is that it uses technology like audio, video and digital imagery. We’ve talked about Storybird and digital comic book generators before, but we want to share a few more of our favorite digital storytelling applications with you.

5 of the Best Digital Storytelling Applications

digital storytellingPeanut Gallery is a free web application that allows users to add inter-titles to silent films like Phantom of the Opera, Voyage to the Moon, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome and seven other films. What’s unique about this application is that the inter-titles are created by speaking into a computer microphone. Now for the bad news: Peanut Gallery can only be run in Google Chrome because it requires the Web Speech API to turn your audio into text.

digital storytellingBombay TV is one of the quirkiest digital storytelling sites we’ve come across. Select clips from old Bollywood movies and write or record your own subtitles. Once you’re done, enter an email address and send it off.

Pic Lits. We’vdigital storytellinge written about Flash Fiction before, but if you need a refresher, it’s basically prose of extreme brevity. Writers like H.P. Lovecraft, O. Henry and Kurt Vonnegut were fans of it, but we became acquainted with it after reading Earnest Hemingway’s six-word story.

Pic Lits is the perfect place to put the Flash Fiction into practice. Here you’ll find a gallery of photos and a collection of nouns, adjectives, adverbs and universals that you can drag and drop onto the photo. If you prefer not to limit your word choices, you can always freestyle and add your own. When you are done, you can either save, share, or email your work.

digital storytellingUsing Comic Master’s sleek and intuitive interface, users can design their own graphic novel. Browse characters, add backgrounds, props, dialogue, captions, special effects and simply drag and drop. When you’re happy with your graphic novel either save it to your hard drive or email it.

digital storytellingDigital Films gives users the ability to choose and customize background scenes, characters, animated actions, dialog as well as intro and ending credits to their digital movie. Registered users will be able to access more advanced features and save/edit the movies that they create.

 

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Topics: Technology in the Classroom, apps for educators, apps for teachers, reluctant writers, digital storytelling, reluctant readers

Make Writing Less Intimidating with these 5 Digital Storytelling Apps

Posted on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 @ 10:01 AM

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

digital storytelling1Scared 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! 

digital storytelling2Marvel 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.

digital storytelling3Storyboard 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.

digital storytelling4.pngTalking 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.

digital storytelling5.png.jpgStudent 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.

Download our FREE guide:  50 No-Nonsense, No Fluff Apps for Teachers

Topics: Educational Technology, Educational Technology Master's Degree, Educational Technology Programs, Instructional Technology Graduate Programs, Best Apps for Educators, Technology in the Classroom, classroom technology, apps for educators, Master's in Educational Technology Online, digital storytelling

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