Monday, November 23, 2009

Digital Story Telling

Normally we have kids find pictures and attach them to a Power Point, or glue them to a Posterboard, thus making the pictures a supplement.  Through Digital Story Telling you are making the Pictures the Main attraction of the project.  There are multiple ways to create a Digital Story. 
The first and most notable has been Photo Story.  You can visit the Microsoft Website and download Photo Story 3 for Windows.  The nice thing about Photo Story is that it is not web based.  The bad thing about Photo Story is that it is not Web Based.  I guess it depends on the student and teacher whether it is a good thing or a bad thing.  Photo Story gives you the ability to upload photos and plan the transition, style, and timing of the photos.  You can also add text on top of the photo, or before or after a photo.  You can also provide music, or you can record a narration of the photo story for the purpose of presentation.  It is important to note 2 things.  First, if students add music, it can't be copyrighted material.  If it is, it cannot be published to your website or blog.  Second, it is important that your students "publish" their photo story so that it is saved as a Windows Media Video.  Visit the link above for more information.
Another Download Option is PhotoFilmStrip which is very similar to Photo Story 3.
There are however other options that are web based.

One of those is Animoto.  There is also an Animoto for Education option where teachers can create an account and then provide a classroom ID to students so that they have full access to the website to create their Digital Story.  So how does Animoto differ?  Well, it automatically creates the transition for the students.  It also has music available to add to the presentation making it publishable.  It does not allow direct recording for narration, but a student can do that using other software, and then save it as an MP3 to use on the presentation.  Animoto takes a lot of the guess work out.  It does the "publishing" for you.  The negative of Animoto is that it does not allow text ON the photo.  The text that you can type is before or after the photo and it is limited (22 characters for title, 30 characters for subtitle).  Once you have completed your digital story you can remix it (change the transitions) and go back and edit it if it does not suit your requirements.  It does take a little time for Animoto to create it, so be patient.  Once you are happy with the final product, you can save it, email it, download it, embed it, and/or upload it.  Take some of your family photos and play around with it.
Here is one I created as a sample from this years Golf Team

PhotoPeach is another option for a web-based Digital Story Telling creator.  Photo Peach has all the options as Animoto.  The difference is that you can add text as a caption on each picture as well as add blank slides with text on them.  You can also view the presentation in a spiral format which is good for show, but no other purpose.  You could also make your digital story into a quiz which could make the students presentation interactive.  PhotoPeach allows you to easily upload to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or your Blog.  You can also email.  It does not allow the ability to download though.

So How Do You Use Them In The Classroom?
  •  English students can do a picture book report finding pictures that represent the characters, setting, plot, theme, symbolism, etc.  If they can't find them, they can take their own pictures.  Students could create a photo poem.
  • Math students could create a 'Math in Our Town" picture report where students find different angles, symbols, etc, in everyday life in their town.  You could also do your school.  Math is everywhere, let your students prove it.
  • Social Studies students could do a picture biography of famous leaders.  They could create a digital story of a famous battle or event.  Create a picture timeline
  • Science could create a digital story of the circulatory or digestive system.  They could create a digital story about the planets.  Create a story about an experiment in class.
  • Health students could create a workout video using pictures
  • Spanish students could create a digital study guide with pictures of words in Spanish that students are required to learn.
  • Practical living students could create a digital presentation of the baking and cooking process.
The possibilities are endless.  The imagination and drive of the students will be up to you.  Have you used them before?  If so, how?