Sunday, March 25, 2012

Two Apps for Digital Storytelling

I have been working with teachers at all grade levels the past three weeks to do more digital storytelling.  Some teachers are focusing on just narrated video slideshows instead of actual stories.  Either way, having a video at the end of a project is a great way for students and teachers to show off their best work.

We don't have classroom sets of iPads in our district, but several teachers have them and others have iPhones.  So I looked for a couple very simple apps that would allow teachers and students to quickly put together stories that at least have pictures and narration.  Here are the ones I have been using.  Both are for the iPhone, but they work well on the iPad.

Story Kit - I love how this one makes the stories in book form, with separate pages.  It makes it so easy to edit the story in parts, one page at a time.  If you mess up narration you only have to do the page over that you are on.  It also allows for text and some limited drawing.  The downside is that the final stories are best viewed as books just on the device.  You can upload them to a website, but there the book displays on a single webpage with all pages of the story visible at once.

Storyrobe - This app is my preferred one because it outputs to a video in the Camera Roll.  It breaks the process of making a story into three very simple steps.  First you gather pictures and these can be from the Camera Roll or you can take them through the app.  Next you "edit", which amounts to putting the pictures in order.  Finally, record your narration.  As you record (up to three minutes) you can bring up each picture as at the appropriate time in the narration.  There are no transitions or features that allow panning or zooming.  Again, I see this as pure simplicity and I love it for the students who can get distracted by advanced options.  The only downside is there's no way to redo just a part of the audio.  One mistake during recording and you have to do it all over...or just live with the mistake.  It also doesn't seem to save multiple stories, so consider this for projects where the story will be recorded in one sitting.

1 comment:

  1. Mike - Thanks for your post. I've had Story Robe on some iPads and iTouches for a few months, but forgot about its ease of use. So many teachers have asked me about a simple tool where students can narrate over several images, so we are going use the app for a 5th grade Social Studies project where students have written and illustrated a Roman Myth. Much appreciated! Looking forward to reading more of your blog posts on game design, too.