“Digital storytelling refers to a short form of digital media production that allows everyday people to share aspects of their life story. “Media” may include the digital equivalent of film techniques (full-motion video with sound), animation, stills, audio only, or any of the other forms of non-physical media (material that exists only as electronic files as opposed to actual paintings or photographs on paper, sounds stored on tape or disc, movies stored on film) which individuals can use to tell a story or present an idea.” (Wikipedia)
Here’s a great article to get you started with digital storytelling in your own classroom: 8 Steps to Great Digital Storytelling.
… and here are some tools that you can use to start telling your own digital stories. Note that this is far from an exhaustive list. For more tools check out this wiki: 50+ ways to tell a digital story.
Storybird lets you create web-based and printed books using a gallery of high-quality artwork. Books can be embedded on a website, downloaded as PDF files or ordered as hard-cover books from the company. Creating web-based books is free, and teachers can use a built-in classroom management tool to create anonymous usernames and passwords on behalf of their students.
Note that only teacher accounts can embed books, so you’ll want to sign up for one before you get started. You can do that by filling out this quick and easy registration form.
Pic Lits is a simple image captioning program that is useful for creating simple one image stories with your students. You can use a pre-set list of words to drag and drop captions onto a series of pre-selected photos. Great for practicing ESL and ELL.
Phrase.it lets you create comic-style bubbles on top of images and then save them to your computer. It’s probably the simplest tool on this list, and it doesn’t require you to register for an account.
Kerpoof is a web-based storytelling tool that lets you create “comic book” style stories. You can view your stories online, print them out and author your stories with a fairly large library of free characters and backgrounds. Kerpoof also allows you to create short animated movies and greeting cards. Teachers can requests access to a classroom management tool to create accounts on behalf of their students.
Sample Kerpoof movie: Panda vs. Bunny
ZooBurst is a digital storytelling tool that lets anyone create their own 3D pop-up books. Books can be viewed online, embedded on your website or experienced in Augmented Reality. The site offers a basic user account that lets you create up to 10 3D pop-up books that can be viewed online and embedded onto your own website or blog. In addition, ZooBurst offers a paid premium account that allows you to set up accounts on behalf of your students, record audio into your books as well as access member only content, such as holiday-themed templates.
Prezi is a “zooming” presentation tool that lets you organize text, images and video in a fun, flowing way. Prezis can be viewed online and embedded onto your website or blog.
Example Prezi: Alice in Wonderland
Create your own 3D animated movies by writing your own script and “directing” a series of virtual characters.
Example movie: Danka’s Debrief
Zimmer Twins is a fun video creation website that lets you create simple movies using pre-rendered cartoon footage. Students can construct timelines that use a wide range of scenes that can be customized with their own text. Stories can be published online and linked from your website or blog.
Example: Prime Numbers
iStopMotion is a desktop based tool that lets you take a series of “snapshots” to construct a stop motion animation. The package is not free, but a single license starts at $12.99 on the Mac App Store. Stop Motion animation is time consuming, but the end result can be pretty spectacular. Here are a few examples:
The Arctic Race
The Arctic Race from Elif Atali on Vimeo.
An extremely simple slideshow tool that lets you make professional looking videos out of your own digital photographs. Their free version lets you make 30 second videos, but you can upgrade to their premium package to construct longer projects.