Lesson 2: Digital Storytelling

I selected this category because I have an upcoming endeavor at work. April 17 is the bicentennial of the town where my district is located. The superintendent wants students to create some kind of presentation (or collection of presentations) that tell the history of our school. We’ve assembled a variety of old yearbooks, photographs, and newspapers that students will use to piece together how our school and school community has changed over time. I am looking for an easy application that will accept the images they find (we will photograph the images they select) and their written or recorded narration. Each presentation would be chronological in nature. Another reason for choosing this lesson was to begin to build a pathfinder on my library website that I originally called Tech Tools for Literacy. I changed the name today because, having the title begin with a letter near the end of the alphabet pushed this pathfinder to the bottom of my Pathfinder page. Feeling a little sheepish that I chose Cool Tools for Literacy, but I needed that letter “C”! Here is a link to the pathfinder I’m creating on my middle school library website (using the OPALS library automation system as my platform): http://hmmms-opals2.moric.org/bin/pf/pfList (scroll down to COOL TOOLS FOR LITERACY).

After more than several hours, I haven’t yet found a tool to suit the school history project. I tried Exposure and Adobe Slate but, for viewers without much experience with technology, it seems they’d be too confusing to view. The downward scrolling navigation and the way one image leads to the next was an unusual experience even for me. It took me some time to get used to it and we need a presentation that any community member can navigate without guidance. Here is my AdobeSlate presentation using photos of my son. (I immediately shared it on facebook!) https://slate.adobe.com/cp/fEGe9/?w=0
I started another one using Exposure, but got frustrated because I couldn’t control the size of the images: https://tstile.exposure.co/alex

The next tool I tried was Animoto. I was hopeful because I’m looking for something similar to PhotoStory that transforms a series of photos into what appears to be a video with text and audio. Unfortunately, the ability to add text to Animoto is limited to a 40 character title and 50 character subtitle, so that won’t work. I’ve always wanted to try VoiceThread and was excited that this might be my opportunity. So disappointed that it’s no longer free. However, in the long term, if it turns out that we have students who are passionate about our school history project, VoiceThread would be a powerful, far reaching tool for engaging the school community and it’s alumni. I liked Photopeach for the quiz possibility and will share that with teachers.

Next I skipped to the Explainer tools and watched the demos. I didn’t have time to try them, but added the link that explains all 3 of them to my pathfinder. I will revisit these when an instructional opportunity presents itself.

Lastly, I tried TimelineJS and was totally confused. It would have taken much more time than I have to learn it. But I’m going to consult with our technology integration trainer and find out if she’s familiar with a timeline creator that would be easy to use.

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