Tools for Digital Storytelling

Here are some digital tools parents can use to tell stories with their children.
By Susan Stephenson



Tools for Digital Storytelling

Recently, I discussed Storytelling with Children here at Scholastic Parents. In that article, I suggested parents and kids might use a video camera to record children's efforts at oral storytelling. Today I'd like to recommend some more digital tools we can use to tell stories.

Blabberize is a website that lets users uploaded a photograph and record their voice "speaking through" that photo. The Blabberize editor allows us to make a mouth move in the image so it looks a little as if the pictured thing is actually talking. I used it to make a toy talk in my article Blabberize. It's also a great tool to use if you want children to develop a character's voice. I did this using an Australian banksia plant in my article Creative Prompt: Start a Story with a Wacky Online Tool.

I mentioned Voki in Tools to Help Kids Create an Avatar. Children can use this website to record their own voices and speak through the avatar they choose. It's a great way to introduce children to the idea of writing a short speech, or creating a tale to tell through their choice of character/avatar. 

Fotobabble is both a website and an iPad app. Once you register with the website (free), you can: 

  1. Upload a photo from your computer
  2. Record what you want to say
  3. Share it with others via email, Twitter, Facebook, a blog or a website. 

It doesn't have the same moving mouth as Blabberize. Here's a Fotobabble I made

Doodlecast Pro App for iPad is essentially a presentation app that records our voices while we draw. At the same time, it records the drawing process. The result is a video with audio. Older children can use it to tell a story too. 

Sago Mini Doodlecast App for iPad. A more child-friendly version of the above, Sago Mini Doodlecast encourages kids to tell stories, create, and share. Children can draw essential props or characters for their story while they tell the story aloud. 

Sonic Pics App for iPad encourages kids to turn photographs into narrated slideshow movies. It's useful for telling stories or presenting information about a topic. Children could take the photos they want at a family picnic, then weave a story about the snaps, telling it aloud when they have it in the right sequence. 

Similar to Sonic Pics, PixnTell enables telling a story via the iPad's inbuilt microphone behind a series of photos. I like the feature where kids can add text to a blank slide between photos. It would be lots of fun to set something up like the old silent movies, and use a retro filter to give purposely taken photos the right "look."

Encouraging our kids to tell stories, taking them to storytelling sessions, and sharing our own fictional or true stories is one of the delights of being a parent. Adding technology to present a story is lots of fun -- kids won't even realize they're learning --  and gives a result that can be shared with a wider audience. Children are also making decisions during the creative process that have them thinking about communication, e.g., Which sound effect would go best with my story? How can I set up this photo to really show my character's feelings? What voice would a pirate use? Great questions – great tools! I hope you'll give some of them a try with your kids.

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