I am looking for feedback regarding the best free tools for digital storytelling for elementary and middle school students. What have you used? What do you like and don't like?

Tags: digital, storytelling, tools

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This summer I worked with students in Ghana to help them write and print their own books.
We also built an online library with their stories in it.

http://ghana.realelibrary.com

We used some wonderful software, RealeWriter, that allows students to write and "publish" their own unique stories.

The software is designed for 6 and above, is free (Pro version is $40), and the books can be published online.

if you want to see more about making books in Ghana, please visit
http://www.makingbooksinghana.org/
to see a presentation of the Ghana Bookmaking project.
Johathan,

These are wonderful! Thank you for sharing :-)
my pleasure!
I have just hired a teacher in Ghana to help continue with our bookmaking project over there, so we should be getting many more book submissions to our library soon.
My 3rd grade students used ULEAD VideoStudio to produce digital stories. They used Macromedia Fireworks to create their illustrations (which was a bit difficult but once they got the hang of it, their creations were amazing). Once they recorded their audio of the story, it was easy to drop in their images, add transitions, sound effects, etc. Each student went home with a DVD copy of their digital story!
Melissa,

Thank you! I have a question: Did you save any of their books on a web-based platform?

:-)
Photo story 3 (a free program from Microsoft) works well!
Our younger students, grades 2-4, finished writing and illustrating stories using http://tikatok.com. The books are stored online but can be purchased in paperback and hardback. We ordered a paperback for each author and will have an Author's Tea next week.
Nancy,

This site is wonderful! I've shared it with my colleagues. :-)
Hi Nancy, Sorry for the delayed response

Tiatok seem interesting, we use realewriter, a free software package designed for kid 6+ to make their own books.

The books can be emailed, printed in the classroom (or staples for 2.50 much more affordable that 13+$ Tiktok charges) and housed on special online libraries.

Please come visit our library to see the books made in Ghana

http://ghana.realelibrary.com/index.php/realebooks/browse/P24

To learn more about the project please visit
http://makingbooksinghana.org

To try the software for free please visit


Any questions? you can email me at jonathanthurston@gmail.com or post a reply
Jonathan--we did one project using Tikatok and now I've got an issue with them. Their new Terms and Conditions state that they now 'own' all the student work placed on their site. For the average project I really don't think this is an issue--but I have several students who are exceptional poets---I'd hate for them to publish on a site that 'steals' their work. When they are famous, I'd hate for them to have lost the rights to their 'early works'. Joking but serious. We've done some fun online stories using Storybird.
yes I think that copyrights is a big issue.
I am surprised that Tikatok has taken that approach. What right dothey have to own the material?

RealeWriter allows the authors to embed their own personal copyrights into the books themselves. I also like the fact that there are so many ways to "share" the books; email, print, and in digital online libraries. You don't have to "pay to play" as it were.

I have not heard of Storybird, but will check it out!
Storybird provides the artwork by professional artists--the challenge is getting the students to write more than 'about' the artwork. N

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