I allllllllmost wrote about digital story telling in the history classroom. You know, because STORY is in the word’s name. Oh! And I used to be a high school hiSTORY teacher…so you could say I’m a fan of the subject.
Then, it hit me. Digital storytelling (or really just STORYtelling) isn’t just for one subject. The power to tell a story (and tell it well) is applicable in every aspect of life…people love stories and learn from them too!
The tech tools in this list are free to educators/students, cross-curricular, and are a fun (and easy) way for you to incorporate more technology into your classroom next year. I couldn’t resist making or finding an example for each tech tool, equipped with quick tips and lesson plan ideas.
1. Storyboard That: take it frame by frame! The awesome comic below was created using StoryboardThat (although I can’t take credit for it).
TIPS: use a quick write or sketch will help students generate ideas for their storyboard. Let them get as creative as they want as long as they are meeting the goal of the assignment! Encourage them to start with the basic idea of the story first and then go back and fill in details.
LESSON IDEAS: provide students with a small part or scene of a story and create a class comic strip to display on the class walls. StoryboardThat has a wonderful teacher’s guide at their site with lesson plans for ELA, Social Studies, Foreign Language, and more!
2. Powtoon: use animation to capture an audience. Below is a Powtoon I created about 5 Things Teaching Isn’t.
TIPS: Use the ready made templates for shorter class periods. If you do not have a premium account, you will not be able to download the videos so be prepared to stream them live OR pick non-premium props and templates.
LESSON IDEAS: create tutorials, explain processes, pitch an idea/product/candidate, and even infographics.Powtoon is a great way to introduce new concepts to your students.
3. ThingLink: link and learn using pictures, videos, and more!
Follow the link to see my example I created using the a vacation picture of the Pantheon in Rome!
TIPS: Group students the first time and encourage them to work together. You can assign jobs for each person- photographer, videographer, researcher, and/or designer.
LESSON IDEAS: Assign students powerful images from any unit of study and have them provide details and multimedia by using ThingLink.
4. Voki: Talk it out! Here is an example I made in a few short minutes!
TIPS: make sure student devices are equipped for audio and be prepared to let students find a quiet corner to make their recordings. Vokis sound weird (BAD) with a lot of background noise.
LESSON IDEAS: Students recreate characters from literature, history, even inanimate objects and/or vocabulary terms and have their classmates guess “who/what am I?” It’s also great for a foreign language class. Voki also has lesson plan ideas on their site so be sure to check it out for more ideas!
5. PicMonkey: a picture’s worth a thousand words!
TIPS: consider the size/dimensions of the project depending on where you plan to display student work. Make sure students are paying attention to where they are saving their image on their computers/tablets.
LESSON IDEAS: Have students create a meme, poster, newspaper headline, postcard, or alter an existing photo (historical, current events, etc) to illustrate student knowledge.
I’ve developed a quick list of best practices when creating digital stories. Check it out!