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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Jon--IMHO, a year from now 90% of the sites will be gone or charge a fee. Hopefully the cream will rise to the top and the good products will stay around. Wanna bet which tools will still be around??
Nancy, OK...I'm not sure how to respond to that. Maybe I am just overly optimistic. All I can say is that Photo Story has been around for many years, Photo Story 3 for about 4 years...free. I will keep my finger crossed, and if PS 3 does go away (Not too worried for a while since it is downloaded on our machines) I will look for those other "top products" you are speaking of.
Jon, Starting about 10+ years ago I presented at NECC for 5 years. The exhibition hall was filled with great products--eboard, RiverDeep, Classroom Connect, Big Chalk and hundreds more. Within several years all those great ideas were gone or no longer free. I think that'll happen again---obviously most of the Web 2.0 "companies" are in it to make money and how many online Timeline Generators do we need!! haha!
Nancy, you are right, products come and go. This all started with someone asking me what a good DST product is. I recommended PS3. It's free, it's on our machines, and it serves our purpose. The bottom line is this, if it goes away miraculously, we will change. After all, it ISN'T about the program, it isn't about flashy tools, it's about student learning. There are many tools for editing DST projects, but I am more concerned with empowering learners and giving them the opportunity to express and create.
Good points, one thing I think a lot about is using the tools without considering whether it makes teaching, learning, thinking, discussing, reflecting better. I get concerned that sometimes "the tool's the thing" and people don't give thought to the outcome. Have a nice day. N.
I've played around with a few different digital storytelling tools, and the best I've come across is Photo Story 3. It's a free download, and it works great!
Right on, Kristin.
Hi, I think it is VoiceThread - a lot of times my students work on it in the classroom.
Hans
I have used PhotoStory 3. For fun, my kids created digital stories using Kerpoof and they have been very successful at it. It is limited to the avitars and backgrounds that the site has, but it gets the students motivated to make their own movies.
Kerpoof has a movie making option and recently added the ability for teachers to set up student accounts. It's easy for students to get carried away with the features and not focus on the content but with careful planning, I think it's a good digital storytelling tool.
I agree, Dave. Too often we get hung up on the "Digital" when we should focus on the "Storytelling." Effects, transitions, and split screens are often overused and distracting. The result is what Joe Lambert calls "Digital Spectacle" and really does not result in much student learning. That's why I would never use something like Animoto with students (I have deliberately NOT given a link to Animoto). Some of the goals is to enhance student writing, self reflection and self disclosure by focusing closely on a single event that impacted his/ her life. The time we spend with fluff should be time devoted to concrete vivid writing, careful image selection, subtle manipulation and making sure our audience feels for, and identifies with the situation. Here is a link to my webpage with a variety of tutorials that enhance learning: http://jonorech.wikispaces.com/Mini+Tutorials
Here's an example of online story telling with Nellie

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