Thursday, August 27, 2015

Once Upon a Time in the Land of Technology: iPad Apps for Storytelling

As summer comes to an end and classes start again, it is time to think of ways to engage students. Telling all kind of stories is one way to do that. When I say "all kinds", I'm referring to reports, writing poetry, researching a topic, and many other student assignments. Think back to Bloom's Taxonomy and you'll remember that the top levels bring greater learning and engagement to your students. There are many ways that technology can help. In this post, I am going to review two iPad Apps that are easy to use and bring out the creativity in your students to keep them engaged. Remember that storytelling allows students to show what they know!

Adobe Voice is one of my favorite free iPad apps. This app is not just for young kids; it is for people of all ages. With Voice, students use pictures, icons, music, words, themes and their voice to create exciting videos that bring ideas and content to life. When you sign in to Voice with your free Adobe account, you can explore stories created by other users or create your own. After adding your title or topic, you can go use premade story structures or build your own to create your story. Structures like "Tell What Happened" or "Explain Something" are great for reports. Add your own icons and photos (or search for Creative Commons licensed images), text, music, and your voice. It is suggested that you record one sentence per visual. Adding more pages will make your final movie more interesting. Students should begin their project with an outline or storyboard. Terms of Use specify ages 13 and up, and for this reason, it is recommended for grades 8-12.

Shadow Puppet is a free app for creating video slideshows (and another one of my favorites). I think this app is often overlooked, and I'm not sure why. Students can make video slideshows to tell their story, explain ideas, or document their understanding of content by creating a video that includes recorded audio and typed text. They can either take pictures with the iPad or download images from the Internet. (Note: Be careful in all projects to use pictures that have been licensed through Creative Commons for re-use, especially if their projects are going to be shared outside of the school.) Lots of ideas for videos are included in the apps, with more available on the website. This app is only limited by the students' imaginations. Teachers can also use it to create video slideshows for their students to watch in class, in a flipped classroom situation, or to differentiate lessons. This app is recommended for grades 1-6, but older students might also enjoy its ease of use. There is an education version and it is free.

Other great apps:
  • Tellagami (free or education version is $4.99)
A great article: