Telling stories with digital tools can be as easy or as complex as you wish. In its most basic form, digital storytelling can be as simple as a student-published book or poem that is either printed or shared online. Once you and your students gain experience, you can move on to creating stories with video, animation, and sound. Let's begin with the basics - stories told in print with digital photos and illustrations. To get started, you'll want to explore a bit and see which tools you have available. Here's a list of suggested tools to get you started:

Computer and Word Processing Software

The good news is that you don't need the latest and greatest to tell stories in print. A computer that includes a word processor like Microsoft Word, AppleWorks, or Pages is a good place to start. TextEdit for Mac OS X or WordPad for PC are basic word processors included for free on your computer.

Photo-Editing Programs

All Apple computers sold in the last five years have included iPhoto, a handy photography program that also includes a great book creation tool. PC users with Windows XP may want to check out Picasa and Picaboo as excellent free alternatives to edit photos and create books.

Drawing Programs

While programs like AppleWorks and Word have basic drawing tools, you might want to look at more kid-friendly alternatives such as Kid Pix. There are also two great free drawing programs that work on Mac and PC computers: TuxPaint is a software program that is perfect for younger students - it includes several fun drawing tools and stamps to help kids create personal works of art. For older students, check out ArtRage from Ambient Design.

Other Options

If you want to incorporate photographs but don't have the time or equipment to have students take their own pictures, try using one of these free online photography sites (PDF).