Throughout history, people have learned through stories. The metaphors and hidden messages help us to understand difficult concepts and themes. Additionally, stories help us visualize material and help us tie knowledge with our experiences. Educators now have 100s of fantastic free online tools to help their students create and learn through digital storytelling. Many of these online tools have free apps available on i-devices and Android devices. Through digital storytelling we motivate our learners to apply, contextualize, visualize, and personalize the knowledge they learn. With a mobile device it is hands-on and students can incorporate images, sound-bytes, and videos they create on the go. Below are some great free apps to help you begin creating digital stories with your learners. For plot ideas and how to organize a digital storytelling project, check out my slide presentation I recently gave at the Global Education Conference. Access the free recording of the presentation, here!
Digital Storytelling Apps
PhotoPeach App- Upload images, enter text, and add music to create a dynamic slideshow. Available on the iPad.
Capzles App- Upload images, audio, video, text, and documents to create a multimedia timeline of events. Available on i-devices.
Toontastic- This app is designed to walk students through the storytelling process of choosing a scene, climax, setting, conflict, and characters. Students even choose music to match the characters’ emotions and create a digital storytelling video that is shared on their global digital storytelling online channel where the students win badges for their creations. Available on the iPad and iPod.
Story Wheel- an educational game in which players record a story by spinning the wheel to get a picture, and then narrate a portion of the story. Students can listen to their story with beautifully animated pictures.
StoryBots- create books on the iPad starring the student! The app is free for the iPad. Includes animations and art. Various options to purchase the book.
Tom Loves Angela- This has got to be one of the cutest apps. Students can create a video of Talking Tom trying to woo Angela. Tom repeats what students tell him to Angela, he sings songs, and can even repeat text typed to him. Angela is the first intelligent responding character of the series and will respond to questions and topics as in a conversation. This option you have to pay for. Students can create a video they email or upload to Youtube. The app is free for Android but you have to pay for i-devices $0.99 to $2.99.
Posterous- With this app, learners can include a mix of text, photos, audio, and videos as well as tags and location information in a blog post. Share immediately on Facebook and Twitter! Even allow others to add to your posts (set this up through the web app vs. the mobile app). Free version available online as well as various mobile devices including the iPhone, iPod, Android, and Blackberry.
StoryRobe- It’s incredibly easy for children and adults to create audio/visual stories on the iPhone and iPod Touch using this app. Use the built in microphone, or any 3rd party microphone to create audio recordings with photos and videos. You have the option to upload to Youtube or send it through e-mail. If it’s in their e-mail, then the parents can easily e-mail their child’s production to their friends! You don’t need an Internet connection to create the stories, but you do to send them! Available on the iPad and iPod.
Splice- Best video editing app for the iPhone, iPod, and iPad that is free. Add audio, transitions, images, and more.
Fotobabble- It’s incredibly easy for children and adults to create audio/visual stories on the iPhone and iPod Touch using this app. Use the built in microphone, or any 3rd party microphone to create audio recordings with photos.
Sock Puppets- If you enjoy playing with sock puppets, you’ll love this app that allows students to create a sock puppet show. Choose the sock puppet characters, personalize the characters by adding your voice, select the scene and props, and record a video. Send this by email or upload to Youtube. Watch this great example. Available on the iPad and iPod.
Puppet Pals- Choose the western characters, personalize the characters by adding your voice, select the scene and props, and record a video. Send this by email or upload to Youtube. Available on the iPad and iPod.
StoryKit- Create an electronic storybook by drawing on the screen, uploading images, recording sound effects and voice, laying out the elements of the story (text boxes, images, paint, and sound clips) freely by dragging them or pinching to resize, reordering pages, and uploading to the StoryKit web server. Email a link to the story. The application includes four public domain children’s books to rewrite and rearrange into a new story. Available on the iPad and iPod.
Animoto- Upload up to 10 images, choose a soundtrack from the library (many nice holiday tunes to choose from, and click a button to make a 30-second video. Sync your videos with your Animoto.com account, download videos for offline viewing, and make longer ones with an All-Access Pass. Available on the idevices and Android.
Voicethread- upload an image, text, or video. Invite others to comment through doodling, text, video, or audio. Available on i-devices.
Create A Comic App- free comic creation app for Android and i-devices.
Videolicious- video creation in 3 easy steps. For i-devices.
Talking Tom & Ben News Reporters- students create dialogues that reflect any news item worldwide and around the school. Kids will love when Tom and Ben report that news. The video they upload of the event shows in the middle while Tom and Ben narrate what is happening. Available for i-devices and Android.
Pocket Wave for iPad- Incredible sound editor that has many features similar to Audacity. Also allows you to download the sound clip in various forms- wav, mp3, etc.
Storyboarding 3D app- Create characters and stage them as you plan your story. You have a large database of characters, props, accessories, and movements to choose from. Your storyboards export as pdfs that can be mailed to you. This is only for the iPad and i-devices.
Popplet- Great app for i-devices that allows collaborative mindmapping. This is great for the brainstorming stages of planning a digital storytelling project. The free version only allows the creation of one mindmap.
Qwiki for the iPad- add narration to pictures, videos, etc. that talk about history and facts. Watch other Qwikis to discover information and do research in an interactive way
AudioBoo- Share audio stories in this online community. Go an extra step and create a qr code and have students scan and listen to the stories. Available for i-devices, Android, and Nokia.
Zooburst- This allows you to view on iPad the stories made with this 3D pop-up book online tool. You can’t create stories but if you scan Zooburst Story Codes you will see the digital story you made online on your iPad. The web tool is absolutely amazing and fantastic for students to create online 3D pop-up books they can embed, add their own photos to, and create dialogues for.
Bunsella Bedtimes Story- students narrate a children’s story, can upload personal photos that become part of the story, then email the video of the narrated story. Others can respond to these read stories. Available on i-devices.
Little Bird Tales- Students can draw their own art or upload images to create a book where they add their voice and text to narrate their story. Then they can embed, create PDFs and MP4s of their stories. Available for i-devices for $2.99 but the web tool allows for the creation of free stories.
Free ebooks & resources
Digital Storytelling Tools by Silvia Tolisano
Effective Mobile Learning: 50+ Tips & Resources by Shelly Terrell
Digital Storytelling in the Classroom by MicroSoft
Post: Engaging Learners Through Digital Storytelling: 40+ Resources
Post: 20+ Free Apps that Promote Student Literacy
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Try a mobile digital storytelling project with your students this year.