What are some ways you can use digital storytelling in the classroom?

I just recently learned about digital storytelling and what it is. I thought it sounded fascinating and the perfect technological tool for students at all grade levels. What are some ways you all have implemented this in the classroom?

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Hi,  I am still is school myself, but I have an idea that I plan on using in the future.  You could co-read a book with yourself.  You could read every other page, you in class, then you on the smartboard, or you could wear a costume and play one of the parts.

Hi Crystal,

I have used it in university classes in two ways.


One, students made a video on what their experiences were during the first year of university. We focused on 4 main areas, classes, teachers, student activities, and orientation week. Students interviewed classmates and teachers, then used iMovie to put together a short video. The main question I wanted students to focus on was, "How would you explain your first year at university to new incoming students through a video?" If you'd like more information on this you can visit my webpage.


Second is student reflection and online class discussions. Here students use Photobooth and make a video either reflecting on questions posed in class by the teacher or classmates. I teach English as a Foreign Language in Japan so this is a great way to keep a video diary of the students progress. The students make one video at the beginning of the semester, then watch it at the end of the semester and reflect on their progress, how they have physically changed and if the content of their video is still applicable. Student will then watch both videos at the end of the second semester and make another reflection video based on similar questions.

I also use it as a way for students to discuss content online. One or two students will be responsible for interviewing one or two upper classwomen on a subject raised in class. Classmates will then have to watch the video and comment back via a forum. This is meant to help students build their online discussion skills which I use in later semesters.


You can do almost anything with digital storytelling. The biggest point is to let the students tell their story, in their voice.



There are plenty of 2.0 tools out there for digital storytelling. I've found this list very useful for exploring these tools:



My kindergarten and first grade samples:

Blabberize - My Dream House Poems

VoiceThread - The Foot Book

YouTube -kinder: Does a Kangaroo have a mother too?

first grade: Asking and Telling Sentences

Podomatic - Walking through the . . .

We also do digital portfolios every year and I've included other video images and slideshows and such in those as well

These are fabulous- I loved watching and hearing them!

The children really learned a lot from the Asking and telling!  My high reading group worked on it and invited the "on level" reading group to do the choral "asking" and "telling" parts.


They were motivated and engaged for the Kangaroo, Foot Book and Walking through . . , and the Dream House Poems Blabberized got them excited about writing, drawing, and visiting our class blog (it's only been up a little over a month)


It has helped their reading, especially the kinders and the "on level" 1st grade readers.  (Our first grade "high" groups typically reads from 2nd-4th grade levels quite fluently)


Our next goal is to record the "on level" students reading a book along with the pictures to put on a "story" page on our website as well as on their portfolios.  We have also recorded some readers theatre for portfolios.  We find that especially helpful for fluency for ALL students!

These were outstanding examples of digital story telling. Thank you for sharing!


Rather than starting with the tool, I would suggest starting with an objective for your lessons e.g. when I was working to improve students' reading fluency we did a movie project using reader's theater...when I was trying to improve writing and teach about author's purpose, students wrote their own short stories and illustrated them with their photos...to teach about animal camouflage, students did research and then presented that research in a short movie...to teach the vocabulary words persuasion and gimmicks, students made short cereal box commercials.  


My classroom movies are online here:  http://www.videointheclassroom.com


You can often find ways of using the same technology to fit many different objectives but it's generally more effective to start with what you're trying teach and then find the right tool for the job.  

Matthew, your videos are fantastic!  I love the "horror" films! LOL!  You've given me some wonderful ideas.  Thanks so much for sharing! 

I am still in school but I've been working on a project with digital storytelling and here are some of the resources I've found:

http://littlebirdtales.com/ is a website where students can create their own digital stories to share with others. First they can create illustrations to scan onto the computer, take digital pictures, or create illustrations on the paint application provided on the website. Once the illustrations are finished students can record themselves telling the story to match their pictures.


Kid's Poetry Page is a site where students can create, save, share, and read other kids' poetry. There are four different poetry kits to choose from: kids kit, first words, best friends, and story maker. Each kit provides you with a number of magnets with different words on them and a virtual magnet board to create your own poems. Students can choose to save the poems, delete everything and start over, or share them with the website for other students to see.


Wow!  So many great suggestions and ideas here.  I particularly like the idea of acting out a story to be shown while you read it to the class!  I also appreciate the sites for kids to create their own digital stories.  I am a big proponent of finding ways to actively involved students in the lessons.  Another resource to try out might be Scratch.  Its a free download and would allow the students to create animated portions for their digital stories.
Indeed Mathew, yours is a point well taken.  Establishing the desired outcome really must come prior to the plans and methods for getting there.



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