Friday, May 23, 2014

Digital Storytelling

UDL allows for students to use alternative ways to "write" stories and explain what they know. Using technology to write digital stories, using pictures or voice to text functionality, allows students with reading and writing difficulties to tell their stories.  Plus it's more fun!

Here are some web and iPad apps that I have used, or at least played with:

Web apps:

Meograph – Uses a timeline and maps to create a 4 dimensional story.

Storybird – The site provides beautiful artistic images submitted by artists which you can use to illustrate and spark ideas for a story.  Free for up to 35 students.

Scratch – A simple programming tool that uses blocks that snap together to form scripts (programs) that let you move characters around a stage, import sounds, use speech bubbles or voice recordings to create a story or project, even video games, while learning basic programming lingo. Free.

Simple Booklet – Lets you create digital books by inserting photos, images, videos, and adding text.  You can format the pages like you do a word document. Can be shared with anyone via the internet. Teacher account is $10/yr for 30 students.
Click the arrow to change the page, or go to this link: for a larger view

StoryboardThat lets you customize  cartoon characters by changing physical attributes and then use speech bubbles to create dialog. Can upload or create vector images with paid versions. Up to 15 blocks for paid versions, or 6 for free version.

More Web Apps:

Powtoons Allows you to create animated slideshows by dragging and dropping characters, props and text plus record your voice to narrate the story.

GoAnimate – Another cartoon creation tool which you choose from a cast of characters, scenes, sound effects, and allows recording of speech starting at $99 per year, based on # students.

VoiceThread – A presentation tool that allows you to collaborate, create and share digital stories using imported drawings or presentation slides.

Bitstrips – A comic strip creation tool that allows you to create fully customized characters and add dialog bubbles to create a story.

iPad apps:

Toontastic – Allows you to create animated cartoons on the iPad. $9.99 for school addition, contains all the in-app additions from the free version.

Pictello – An iPad app that lets you import images and text or voice to create a digital talking story. $18.99

Educreations A presentation or storytelling app, allows you to narrate while drawing or inserting images.  This app is free.

iMovie Trailer – Allows you to create a movie trailer type of story using photos taken with your iPad or imported images. Add text and music and create a dramatic “preview” story. iMovie is an app on iPad or Mac.

BookCreator (iPad)  Lets you create iBooks for your iPad by importing pictures, video, sound, and use text, handwriting or voice recording.  Can export and share as well.

30hands – Is an iPad app that lets you easily create narrated stories and presentations using photos, images, and drawings and recording your voice to tell a story.

Do Ink Animation – An iPad app that allows you to create animation paths using your finger, draw your own illustrations or use stock illustrations in the app. 

Hughes, A. (2013) Causes of the civil war. Meograph. [Slideshow]. Retrieved from:   

Ray, R. (2013). A midsummer night's dream. [Storyboard]. Retrieved      from:

Medeiros, C., Koren, N. and Peb08.  (2013). Pass it on, Halloween tale remix. Scratch  Community. [Scratch  programming project]. Retrieved  from:
Rueppel, L. (2011). Becasue of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea . [Youtube video]. Retrieved  from

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Social Media in School?

Many schools struggle with the decision to allow social networking sites in school. I wrote this post on my other blog for a class I am currently taking in technology integration. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Augmented Reality

I have discovered a new tool called Augmented Reality. There are several apps and websites related to this medium which has many applications for education.  One of the iPad apps I found that illustrates how AR works is AR Flashcards Space.  This app comes with a link to print out the flashcards, which when scanned with the app, reveal a 3 dimensional rotating planet.  When you tap on the planet its name is spoken and tap on the "i" for more information on the planet. The Flashcards Space app costs $3.99.  There is also a free app called AR Flashcards Animal Alphabet, which has a card for each letter with 3D animals. 

If you like that app, there are several other apps and web tools you can use to create your own AR auras.  One that I have played with is called Aurasma, which is both an iPad app and a website (with even more features).  You can have a picture on a bulletin board trigger a video or link to a website - which means lots of educational applications.  Using the app, kids could do video book reports and then attach them to a picture of the book so that others can get a preview of the book in the library.  A teacher could record an explanation of how to solve an advanced math problem and use a trigger image, the problem, to start the video.  You can also link to websites with a tap on the image or video.  This great 3-minute video was created by a high school student from Burlington, MA, and it shows how simple it is to create your own AR aura using Aurasma.


Other AR applications include LayAR which can be used to add multimedia information to printed magazines and much more. ColAR is an app that brings children's coloring pages to life (link to free pages included, additional pages are in app purchase) and Spacecraft 3D by JPL (free) allows you to "play" with NASA's robotic spacecraft. Daqri is another AR creation app.

There are also AR apps for android devices, including Google Skymap, which tells you which stars you are looking at when pointed at the night sky.  You can read about more Andriod (and iOS) AR apps (some for general info) in this Digital Trends article.

Check out AR, it is amazing, your students will love it!

ColAR coloring app