4 Tips to Start Digital Storytelling in Your Classroom

Creating digital stories is an engaging activity for students as they seek the best and most creative ways to combine their own narratives with images, video, and sound.  While involved in that creative process, students are also learning many of the skills required by the Common Core Standards for ELA.

Here are some tips and resources to get started:

1. The tools for creating digital stories are free and easy to use.

Photo Story for the PC and iMovie for the Mac provide a seamless ways to integrate images, audio narration, music, and transition effects. They use a drag and drop interface for adding images to a timeline. Both are freely available to download. They are great to use in a classroom because, regardless of platform, you will have access to one of them. These are the tools we would start with in our Digital Storytelling professional development workshop.


Photo Story for Windows is free and easy to use.

There are also many free story creation tools available online.

With the free version of Animoto, you can create 30-second videos using music and images to tell a story.  Little Bird Tales is great for younger students to draw their own pictures, import images, write text, and add audio narration. There is a $2.99 iPad app for Little Bird Tales, and the website contains templates for Common Core support. StoryBird is nice for all students and already holds a large library of artist created images that can be used to create a story that displays like a digital book on a web page.

Little Bird Tales

2. Finding copyright friendly images is easy.

By doing a quick image search in Google, you’re bound to find an image you’d like to use. But, was it put on the web with the intention of others freely using it?  There are a number of sites that provide high-quality images for digital storytelling that are free to use, such as Pics4Learning, Pixabay, and WikiMedia Commons.  All of these, as well as others, were designed for sharing.


Pixabay is a great resource for photos to use in your digital stories.

3. Create customized images with SMART Notebook or PowerPoint.

Both SMART Notebook software and Microsoft PowerPoint allow you to export or save your pages/slides as images. This is perfect for when you want to include title pages or pages from a lesson in your digital story.

When you need text with an image (or want to add arrows or shapes), you can compose that piece of your digital story in either of these applications to create just the right image. In our webinar on digital storytelling, the process is described about 25 minutes into the recording.

4. Publishing and sharing stories is an important part of the process.

When students share their digital stories, they’re given the opportunity to get feedback from others. Platforms like Edmodo and Schoology, a wiki, a blog, or a teacher webpage provide ways to publish student-created stories.  In Edmodo, students will be able to post their stories privately to their classroom group or can decide to make their posted stories public on a webpage whose URL can be shared.


Platforms like Edmodo make sharing student stories simple and safe.

What stories would you and your students like to tell? What questions do you have about the process of creating digital stories?

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6 Responses to 4 Tips to Start Digital Storytelling in Your Classroom

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  2. WOgbonna says:

    This is very interesting and useful information, I know my kids would enjoy this and I think I would enjoy doing this. Thank for sharing.

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