Put simply, “digital storytelling” is just using computer-based tools to tell a story. There are many different ways to do this – from making movies, recording voices, creating animations or electronic books.
In schools they can help to take a task that might be seen as mundane – write a report, write a story, explain a process, describe an experiment – and turn it into something a whole lot more interesting.
The iPad is an excellent tool for doing this in the classroom since it has a built-in camera and microphone. The multi-touch screen also allows several children to be involved at the same time, in those apps which allow it.
Here are 10 great iPad apps that you should definitely investigate. Most of them are paid-for apps, but there are a few which have free versions which allow you to try them out before you decide to commit.
Sock Puppets lets children create their own lip-synched videos. Add Puppets, props, scenery, and backgrounds from a library of resources. Hit the record button and the puppets automatically lip-synch to their voices. Some puppets have filters that will distort their voices for a more cartoon-like effect. There are also some fun photo-realistic sock puppets to try out!
Sock puppets comes as a free version with a few characters to test out, and as a paid for version (£2.49) with all the characters included.
Toontastic allows children to draw, animate, and share their own cartoons. Simply press the record button, move your characters onscreen, and tell your stories! You can even create your own characters using the built in drawing tool. Toontastic costs £1.79 on the UK App store, and additional packs of resources are available as in-app purchases.
Puppet Pals works in the same way as Toontastic. The Puppet Pals App is free and comes with Wild West set of characters. For more scenes and characters you have to make in-app purchases of about 59p per pack, or you can buy a Directors Pass for £2.39 with all the character packs included.
It’s worth getting the directors pack as this lets you use your own images as characters and backgrounds. This makes it even better for use in the classroom. Children could act out scenes between famous people that they are studying in class, or insert themselves into the story. There’s a built-in editor which lets you cut out people from a photograph so that they work in the app.
Morfo lets the childen upload a face and make it speak. The mouth moves in sync with their voice and the eyes blink. It’s great for use with images of characters from a book or historical figures. Upload a portrait image and bring it to life. Pretend to be Anne Boleyn and tell the story of your life perhaps? (free and paid versions)
Comic Life lets children create their own comic strips or posters. Images can be mixed up with speech bubbles and other lettering. Like the PC/Mac software it’s very user friendly. (£2.99)
Like Comic Life above, this app lets children create their own comic strips or graphic novels. Select one of the many included page templates, insert photos into the cells then add a couple of speech balloons. Photos can be added from the camera or via the photo-album. Filters can be applied to photos to make them look more like comics. They can even paint on the photos, or draw their own sketches from scratch. (£1.99)
This is a great way for children to create their own beautiful iBooks. The books can contain photographs, text, drawings and even recorded sounds. The finished books can be read in iBooks, sent to parents, or even submitted to the iBookstore. £2.99
Explain Everything is an easy-to-use design, screencasting, and interactive whiteboard tool that lets children annotate, animate, narrate, import, and export almost anything to and from almost anywhere. Add images related to a topic and record their explanations. (£1.99)
Videoscribe lets your students create presentations that look as though they are being hand-drawn right in front of you. It’s much more engaging to watch than a PowerPoint presentation! It can take a while to render the finished animation, so don’t use this if time is limited. (£1.49)
ABCya! Animate is a creative tool for children to make and share animations on iPad! It is a beautifully designed child-centered interface which helps to make the creative process fun and simple. Even very young children will be able to use it. £1.49