Our Tech Tidbits for this week are all about digital storytelling or using digital tools to create and share a story. We can use various forms of technology such as an iPad, website or online story planner to share stories of in class learning, to extend the plot line in a novel or story or even to illustrate character trait concepts. Here are a few to get you started…
Frames 4 (OSAPAC Software)
Frames 4 is a licensed program available on the school computers. I have given some information about it in a previous Tech Tidbit message, however if you missed it you can access it here Tech Tidbit Dec 7th
This website allows students to logically fill in information about characters, conflict, setting and resolution as they begin to plan out their story. Once they have identified the key pieces of information, they are able to print out the maps and utilize them when beginning to elaborate on their ideas. One thought to remember is that you will need to use the ‘Graphic Organizers’ drop down menu to continue on to the next map (i.e. characters, conflict, etc.).
Bitstrips (Online website) http://www.bitstripsforschools.com/ontario/
Bitstrips for schools is an online comic creating website which is free for Ontario educators. Simply go to the website, find the Upper Grand School Board and your school from the drop down menus and enter your first class e-mail address. You will then be asked to enroll each of the students in your class individually and create your own realistic avatar or graphic image representing yourself. When your students begin logging in they too will to create their own avatars (realistic or somewhat fantastical) and begin constructing comic strips using images of themselves, you or others in the class. . Just one word of warning, you need to carefully and correctly type the web address into the web browser otherwise you may find yourself viewing a website which is rather inappropriate.
Storybird (online website) www.storybird.com
Storybird is an online website that allows users to create their very own personalized stories in reverse. The beautiful images are used to spur on children’s thinking and assist them in creating their stories. First, browse the illustrations and choose which ones you want to use in your book (click on ‘use this art’), then drag and drop the images and incorporate your very own dialogue. Although this is a great site for grades 4 through 8, users must be 13 years of age to become a member.
Carnegie Library Story Maker (http://www.carnegielibrary.org/kids/storymaker/embed.cfm)
The Carnegie Library offers a story maker which is perfect for older students. By clicking on the characters and determining what they will do the story maker writes the story for you. Although this takes a little getting used to the online Story Helper will assist in guiding you through how to create the stories. Once created the stories can be saved, published, e-mailed or printed out. Additionally when you are complete the story maker give you a ‘magic code’ which can be used to return to your story for future edits and rewrites.
Toontastic (Free iPad App)
The Toontastic iPad application is a great way to break down story telling into its basic parts (characters, setting , conflict, etc.). By entering the information step by step the students begin to understand how a story can be built up in a logical and progressive manner. Actually creating the story may take some practice, as after you’ve chosen your setting and characters one has to “move” them to animate the scene, however students are great with playing and trying out new techniques. By touching and dragging the character it moves as desired, even arms and legs move to simulate the character movement. You can even make characters move fast or slow, items grow or shrink, come into the frame from outside, and more. Additionally the app allows importing of pictures from the photo gallery to be used as a “face” for a character, which would let kids put THEMSELVES in the cartoon. No hands or feet, just a face selection tool. Finally, you can add narration and voice overs for a personal touch to each story. Play around and see what kinds of stories you and your students can create.
Sock puppets (Free iPad app)
The Sock puppets iPad Application allows students to create sock puppet shows to illustrate their stories. Choose the sock puppet characters, personalize them recoding and by adding your voice, select the scene and props, and record a video. Send the completed videos to an email account or upload to Youtube. Watch this example.
I hope these will help you enjoy storytelling and creating books online and on the iPad with your students!
If you have any suggestions about what you might like more information about, things you’d like to try or simply regarding technology being used in a specific subject area, please feel free to send me a message and I’ll try and find more information for you.