digital storytelling

Guest Blogger Lisi Geffen Loves to Tell Stories, Digitally!

Posted by Andrew Gardner on

Digital Storytelling is a powerful educational tool because it’s engaging for students, encourages creativity, and can provide important context expressing understanding of classroom studies. Students can create digital stories to process what they are learning in a creative way, or as an assessment and final reflection at the end of a unit. BrainPOP offers a wide variety of animations that can help prepare your kids to tell a good story.  Check out BrainPOP’s  main idea and prewriting video to help students construct their ideas,  idioms and clichés to learn about what to avoid, dialoguemood and tone and show not tell to help them write at their most expressive!  Once primed and ready,  students can create their own digital stories to share with classmates.

So what are digital stories? In a nutshell, digital stories are stories that are created digitally – from simple slide shows, with or without accompanying audio, to interactive animations. Creating digital stories in class is a fun way to turn students from media consumers to media producers.

There are several types of stories that are easy to create, using free software that will run on almost any school computer. Stories can be a series of visuals, or images plus audio. Students can

  • create slide shows with Power Point, Keynote (or OpenOffice‘s free alternative)
  • use ToonDoo, Pixton, ComicLife or any online comic maker to design comic strips
  • create animation with Scratch – these can be simple cartoons, or incorporate interactivity
  • or even build 3D worlds with Storytelling Alice.

Paint.NET or skitch are excellent free image editor students can use to make changes to their photos, clip art, or other graphics in their stories.

Inspiration for stories can come from almost anywhere: biographical events, stories in existing books and movies – without infringing on copyright, of course! – and even fairy tales and nursery rhymes. The important thing is to be creative, and find the best tool to express the particular ideas you are trying to share.