A Vlog?!

I wanted to try a new adventure – vlogging. Okay, I’m not going to Vlog like all the famous ones my kids watch. I just wanted to try to use Youtube to share my story. Nuff’ said.

So in today’s blog, whoops, vaaaa-log, I wanted to talk about a book that I’m reading. You should really make a video about a book you’re reading too. Actually, you should make a bunch. I love learning about what others love to read. It’s inspirational and helps others open their minds to new ideas. So…what’s a book you’re reading lately? Make a Vlog about it!

Tools for Digital Storytelling

There are plenty of free tools to assist you with digital storytelling. This is is by no means all-encompassing.

Print Resource:

Porter, B. (2004). DigiTales : The art of telling digital stories. Sedalia, Colo.: Bernajean Porter.

Porter’s Website: http://www.digitales.us/about


First, Let’s Talk PLANNING tools. Every good story has a storyboard. You can make your storyboard using any number of ways. I appreciate digital collaboration, so I would use LucidChart to map out a story. If that doesn’t work, I’d at least create a script in Googledocs.

Now, Let’s Examine RECORDING tools. There are probably 200 tools out there that could be used for digital storytelling. If none of these float your boat, check out Kathy Schrock’s lost list of suggestions.

Voicethread: Voicethread is my favorite tool for digital storytelling because it’s so flexible. Voicethread allows for video or audio creation. Commenters can reply with video, audio, or text. The products look great on a computer or mobile device. Because the free account only allows you to make five Voicethreads, I’ve purchased my own paid account.

Here is a sample:


If you need help, let me know. I’ve made many over the years. Here’s a simple tutorial on how to make a Voicethread on a computer.

The best teacher resource I’ve found comes from Bill Ferriter. He’s a sixth-grade science teacher out of Raleigh, North Carolina. You should spend a few hours just combing his website before you even start using Voicethread. He has mapped out the best practices in digital storytelling.

Lastly, here are a few more samples from the Voicethread website. I especially like “Lincoln’s Dog Fido.”


eeExplain Everything (on the iPad): I’ve only used this for screencasting directions, but there’s no reason a teacher couldn’t use it for digital storytelling. Check out this resource on using Explain Everything.

Here is an outstanding tutorial on how to use Explain Everything for Digital Storytelling on an iPad.

Here’s a student sample:



Sock Puppets (on the iPad): I’ve used Sock Puppets as an outlet to demonstrate understanding, but I think it would make a great storytelling app too! My own children use it to tell stories for fun. I would buy the paid version so you can upload pictures in the background.

Here is a quick sample to get you thinking.



Green Screen by Do Ink: What an easy and cute app. For almost nothing, you can make your own green screen movies. Students can create scenes in the app, import them into iMovie, and stitch them together for a beautiful story. In Doudna 126 you’ll find a green screen studio that’s perfect for your projects. If you don’t have that kind of access, you can make one like I did in my basement for $25 or less. A green can of paint is all you need! A student this semester even used green tag board and did just fine!

Green Screen Studio in my Basement
green screen
Green Screen Studio in Doudna 126


Here’s a good sample to get you thinking.


Note: The Green Screen Studio is available at select times. Contact me if you’re interested in reserving it.

Stop Motion: Remember Wallace and Gromit? This iPad app allows you to make your very own stop motion movies. You can use anything to tell your story – pieces of paper, legos, stuffed animals, even a dry erase board. The app also comes with a voice over feature. Keep in mind, you’ll need to take probably at least 1000 photographs to tell a story, so be patient.

It took me a long time to find one with voice overs, but here’s a sample.


NOTE: This tool doesn’t allow for voice overs and probably won’t fulfill a project requirement.

Animoto: Although it doesn’t allow for Voiceovers, users can still tell a beautiful story. The free account is limiting; I bought a paid account so I could have longer videos.

A few years ago I fostered two batches of baby kittens for a local animal shelter. This video is a short story of their little lives. Although the final project turned out to be fine for the audience, if I could do it again, I would have planned a storyboard right from the beginning. I’m happy with my work, but it’s a good example of how not thinking ahead limited me. Here’s another, more personal, project I created to describe the life of my beautiful sister-in-law.