Digital Media for iLead Teachers:
Media Across the Curriculum
415 89th Street
Brooklyn New York 11209
Room 508

Digital Media Across the Curriculum:
Storytelling as a 21st Century Assessment Tool
This Workshop will focus on the foundations of Storytelling and the 21st century tools that enhance traditional storytelling. The second part of the workshop will look at mobile devices(more noticeably, the iPad 2). One enhancement of the iPad 2 is the addition of a camera. We will explore how to utilize this tool to record student progress through a unit of study. Both video & still photos can be imported into desktop software to create videos that can be shared on the web.

Greetings and Icebreaker
Understanding Storytelling
Why Integrate Digital Storytelling into the classroom?
Storytelling 101
  • Basics
  • Process
  • Storyboards & Rubrics
Using the iPad 2 as a creation and publishing tool
  • Apps for creating
  • Apps for Sharing
Expression of self through e-Portfolio's

  • "Digital storytelling is the modern expression of the ancient art of storytelling. Digital stories derive their power by weaving images, music, narrative and voice together, thereby giving deep dimension and vivid color to characters, situations, experiences, and insights."
  • Digital Storytelling Association
Resource from Discovery Education:


There’s a reason it’s called show and tell and not just tell. Computer-based images. Video clips. Text and graphics. Audio narration. Music and sound design. It’s all available. It’s all easy to use. And there’s no doubt that it can all take storytelling to the next entertaining, compelling level.

What is digital storytelling?

Digital Storytelling applies computer-based tools to traditional storytelling using images, music, video, text, and narration to express a point of view. Rooted in the foundation of the storytelling process, digital storytelling allows the author to further express his or her story in a digital medium. Just as a playwright tells his or her story on a stage, or a writer creates a story to be told on film, digital storytelling is an extension of the writing process.

Director Thenmozhi Soundarajan, Momnotmom
Source: Center for Digital Storytelling
What's the main idea of the video?
How could this be an instructional resource for teachers?

Building Blocks for Digital Storytelling
  • Setting
  • Plot
  • Conflict
  • Characters
  • Point of View

Who can create digital stories?

From the beginning writer to the advanced storyteller, if a student has a story to tell, he/she can create a digital story. To assist with digital storytelling, there are many computer-based tools available that range in technical complexity. For suggested video, image, and audio editing tools appropriate for all experience levels of storytellers visit Tools & Resources.
View and reflect:
Our Visual World

Why Integrate Digital Storytelling into your Classroom?

Digital Storytelling allows for meaningful use of digital resources and authentic content in the classroom. A good source to learn more about integrating digital storytelling into your classroom can be found at
In addition, there are a number of key benefits:
  • Digital storytelling supports one of the 21st Century Skills/outcomes of an Integrated Project Model of rich technology - integrated teaching and learning.
  • Digital storytelling demonstrates how the power of technology can be used to support compelling, authentic content.
  • Digital storytelling has strong applications for English Language Learners (ELL) instruction. Digital storytelling requires authors to match imagery, sound, and/or video to some sort of narrative/voice. For this very reason digital storytelling can help students learn a new language as they write, create imagery, and describe a story for an audience.
  • With digital storytelling, students must research their content, and therefore it relates to research-based instructional practice that supports the 5 E model - engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate (
  • Digital storytelling provides educators with alternative forms of assessment.
  • It provides students with a different and unique way to express their point of view - in a way that the current YouTube generation is already very comfortable in doing.

The Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling

There are seven elements of a digital story (taken from the Center for Digital Storytelling -
  1. Point of View
    In thinking about the point of a story, one should also be considering the reason for the story. Why this story, now, for this group of people?
  2. A Dramatic Question
    In a romance, will the girl get the guy? In an adventure, will the hero reach the goal? In a crime or murder mystery, who did it? When any of these questions are answered, the story is over.
  3. Emotional Content
    Did the story engage your emotions? Did it make you sad, happy, excited, etc? How can you enhance the emotional content through visual imagery?
  4. Adding Your Voice
    Personalizes the story, helps with English Language Learners (ELL) instruction, scripting, etc. One can also use his or her voice to convey the message so that is aligns with the imagery.
  5. The Power of a Soundtrack
    Soundtracks set the mood of our day, change the way we perceive the visual information streaming into our eyes, and establish a rhythm for our step. Here are three very different sound bites that can demonstrate to your students the impact sound can have on setting the mood.
  6. Economy
    If the writer and director do a good job, they will shoot just what is necessary to keep the story visually rich while moving forward, with only the minimum of dialogue and number of scenes necessary to allow us to envision the larger story.
  7. Pacing
    The rhythm of a story determines much of what sustains an audience’s interest. A fast-paced movie with many quick edits and upbeat music can suggest urgency, action, nervousness, exasperation, and excitement. Conversely, a slow pace will suggest contemplation, romanticism, relaxation, or simple pleasures. An additional resource that explains these elements for use in the classroom can be found at

The Storyboard Process

Sample Storyboard

1.Set Expectations:
  • Digital storytelling can be an individual/personal story but it can also be a team exercise.
  • At the beginning of the storytelling process it is good to brainstorm and throw out many different ideas - spaghetti on the wall theory. Throw it up there on the wall - whatever sticks is what we want to consume. This is a great exercise in and of itself,
4.Identify the Point of View of the Story:
In thinking about the point of a story, your students should also be considering the reason for the story. Why this story, now, for this group of people?
5.Write the Script or Narrative:
Be sure that the words complement the visual imagery but do not detract from the story.

This is the visual outline of the story. It includes transitions, script, images, and/or other content relevant to each scene of the story. Sample storyboards can be seen in the Sample Rubrics & Storyboards section.

7.Choose/Find Your Content:
  • Add in imagery that complements the story.
  • Add in sound effects that complement the story.
  • Add in a song/soundtrack that complements the story/mood.
  • These elements should not distract the audience from the overall story or make it too confusing.
8.Put It All Together:
  • If it is a video, record the video with digital cameras and assemble with other digital elements including sound/narrative and images using some sort of editing tool (iMovie, MovieMaker, Adobe Premier Elements, etc.) For recommended hardware/software options see Tools & Resources.
  • If it is a photo essay, assemble with other digital elements including sound/narrative and images using some sort of editing tool (iPhoto, PhotoStory3, Web 2.0 application, etc.).
There are a number of sites available to support the digital storytelling publishing process including: teachertube, voicethread, animotoa, GoAnimate, and wikis.

1.Create a storyboard on your Instructional Unit created in the iLead CCTK.

2.Find Royalty Free Music

3. Find Copyright Free Images

4. Create Narration


Storytelling 101

Basics 101
Process 101

Sample Rubrics and Storyboards

Example of Digital Stories

Part 2:

Using the iPad 2 to create and publish Digital Media

Apps for Creating

  • iMovie (9.99)
  • StoryKit (Free)
  • Story Patch (2.99)

Even More Apps for creating:

Storytelling continues to gain popularity as an educational activity as it stimulates a deep thinking process, it provides opportunities for reflection and it enhances and enriches the learning experience for our students. Storytelling is a very powerful way of communicating with our peers and portrays to others who we are and what our own stories are. It also provides an opportunity to connect with a group by creating a shared experience. This is vital in any community but more so in an educational setting where we are nurturing and fostering creativity.

So here are a number of apps that provide the tools for students to participate in the long and rich history of storytelling. Just because it is in a digital format does not make it any less rich to either the audience or within the medium.

external image toryrobe.png
This is an app that allows you to share your story with other Storyrobe users. You can add to existing stories to create longer tales of travel, events or history or you can create your own. This app can be used for work, school or just to share stories with each other.

external image storypatch.png
Storypatch is a storytelling app designed for children to create their own picture books. It has hundreds of images in it’s library as well as the ability to import photos. Students will love this app because they will be creating fun and engaging stories almost immediately.

external image comicstrip.png
Create your very own comic book page using photos from your camera roll or takes new ones in-app. With this fun and unique layouts and caption bubbles, anyone can create the story they have always wanted to tell. Email your stories, your creations from your photo album.

external image puppet+pals.png
Create your own animated stories. Simply pick out the characters, drag them onstage and tap record. Movements and audio is recorded for your performance. If you get the Directors Pass you can act out a story of Pirates on the high seas, fight scary monsters or play the part of a wild west bandit.

external image reel+director.png
Reel Director:
This is a powerful video app that allows you to create, edit and share movie clips on your iPad. Smooth or blend transition between scene changes are its biggest feature but it also does Ken Burns, text overlays, music imports and voice over capabilities. A great storytelling app.

external image strip+designer.png
Strip Designer:
This is a comic strip creation with included page templates. Add photos and a couple of speech bubbles and additional effect stickers and you have a professional looking comic or graphic novel. You can even paint on the photos or draw sketches from scratch.

external image sonic+pics.png
Sonic Pics:
This app is like a narrated slideshow of your images. You can add images from your library or take new ones in app. The images can be arranged any way you like and then you records a voiceover that narrates your story as you swipe through your images.

external image Toontastic.png
Making cartoons is as easy as putting on a puppet show - simple press the button, move your characters onscreen, and tell your stories through play. Once you are done, Toontastic will playback your animation and voice asa cartoon for you to share with firends and classmates.

external image storykit.png
Create an electronic storybook. Write some text, illustrate by drawing on the screen, tag a photograph or drawing on paper and then photograph the image. Sounds can be recorded for narration or effects and the layout elements of your story can be dragged, pinch and altered with ease.

external image cartoon+studio.png
Cartoon Studio:
Create multi-celled cartoons straight from your iPad. Some characters and backgrounds are included all you need to do is select the ones you want and drag them in to place. Add your speech bubbles and you can make any situation both entertaining and informative.

external image comics+creator.png
Comic Creator:
Turn your own photos into a dynamic comic book. Insert images into customisable templates that allow pan, zoom in and zoom out. Add you speech bubbles from the selection and then use the app to share with other or social networks.

external image photocomic.png
Photocomic is easy to use and discover. Start by selecting a layout, ad photos to each frame and then select one of the various bubbles to add text. Interaction with each object by double tapping. Capture the right moments and re present your story creatively.

An Article from NSTA on the use of Cameras to support evidence based learning:

Tools & Resources

To make a story digital, the storyteller needs to add things like images, songs/audio, video, and sound effects. Once these elements are added, the storyteller then needs to assemble and edit the final product/story. This section provides a list of hardware, software, Web 2.0, and resources to assemble and publish a digital story.


Here is a list of some of the hardware needed to create digital story:
  • A Computer- Can be a Mac, PC or Netbook - needed to assemble the digital story.
  • A Digital Camera- This is needed to take digital stills. Most any camera will do (don't need the most expensive one). In addition, most point and shoot cameras also have a video function.
  • A Video Camera - The video camera is needed to capture video (for example, the Flip Cam is often used in classrooms because it is easy to use, with only one button for recording,
  • A Webcam- This is helpful for hooking up to a computer and capturing images video, and narratives.
  • A Microphone- Most laptops have built-in microphones. However, it may also be helpful to purchase one or more computer microphones to specifically record voice. Again, an expensive microphone is not needed to get the job done. However, we do recommend using a headset/microphone for the best recording because playback is not as distracting and the mic tends to block ambient sound better. Another trick for better sound quality is to create your own "spit guard." This can be done using a simple craft ring and a piece of gauze.
  • Something Green - Kids love creating and using a green screen in class. This can be a wall, construction paper, shower curtain, or even a sheet. This is an optional item but great for creating a green-screen studio within your classroom. By filming your kids in front of a green background you can add them into other videos and backdrops (note - blue is the only color that will work if you are using MovieMaker).


Here is some software that can be used to create a digital story. You do not need all of these programs to create a digital story, but pairing iPhoto/iMovie with Garage Band or PhotoStory 3/Windows MovieMaker with Audacity will give you free video and audio editing suites right in your classroom.
  • iPhoto- This is standard on a Mac and is used for creating digital stories with still images.
  • Garage Band- This is standard on a Mac and is used for creating sound files.
  • iMovie- This is standard on a Mac and is used for creating videos.
  • PhotoStory 3- Used for creating digital stories with still images. It is not standard on a PC but is available as a free download.
  • Audacity- This is a free sound editor for the PC.
  • Windows MovieMaker- This is standard on a PC and is used for creating videos.
  • Adobe Premiere Elements - Used for creating videos on a PC and includes a green screen feature. It is not free but it is substantially discounted for educators.
There are resources available that provide tutorials on how to effectively use these digital storytelling resources:

Web 2.0 Tools:

Here are some easy to use Web 2.0 tools for grades K-5. All of the sites listed below have both free and premium (paid) versions.
  • Add images and songs to create a music video.
  • Add images, video, and voice commentary from you or your students to build a collaborative story.
  • Digital storytelling tool that is designed to let anyone easily create their own customized 3D pop-up books.
  • Create animated video stories, pictures and more. Includes timeline and multiple layers. Mostly supports an elementary audience.
  • Cut and paste Discovery Education images, clipart, songs and more into an animated cartoon story.
  • A text-to-speech tool. Pick a scene, type in a script, add action and sound, and publish.
  • Similar to PhotoStory 3 only completely web-based.
  • Tool to create a non-linear story, PSA, or poster.
  • Upload images from computer or Flickr or other site and combine them with their animated templates.
  • Save stories, photos, and videos on a collaborative timeline.
  • - Create interactive slideshows and presentations from photos, video and music from Flickr, Picasa Web Albums, or YouTube.

Additional Resources: