Friday, August 23, 2013

Digital Storytelling for Kids Online

Digital Storytelling for Kids Online

by Susan Stephenson,

I'm a story junkie. I love reading and storytelling, movies, songs and poetry. I love modern dance, art, sculpture, drama and photography - all ways of communicating messages and telling stories. In the last few years, I have come to appreciate digital storytelling and the tremendous benefits it offers kids.

What is digital storytelling? There are loads of definitions, but to me, it's a story (usually something with a beginning, middle and an end) produced in digital format. When working with kids and literacy I think it's important not to get too hung up on definitions. For some kids just getting words onto a page or an image is a huge achievement, and something to be celebrated. So a beginning, middle and end might well be something still to aim for.

A digital story may take the form of a video clip, an audio clip, a slide show, a cartoon or comic that can be viewed on a computer, a graphic novel online, digital images with captions, or a digital poster. Again, technically speaking, a poster usually doesn't have a beginning/middle/end. But beginnings and endings can certainly be imagined or guessed at.

What I love about digital storytelling is the opportunities it offers children to express themselves and communicate with an audience. If that interests you, why not check out some of these tools I believe will work well for you and your kids? Collaborating over a story means you're supervising your kids online, as well as giving them an opportunity to learn from you.

Some Digital Storytelling Tools Online

* Make an audio recording at Blabberize

* Make a slideshow at PhotoPeach
I love how easy it is for kids to make digital stories at PhotoPeach. You can add captions to photos you upload, choose music, and edit or try again if you mess up. Kids will have a ball setting up toys and figurines to act out their story the way I did in Jack Looks for his Friends on PhotoPeach embedded below.

* Make a LEGO-based digital comic
I've talked lots about comic editors here at the Book Chook. Comics are probably my number one preferred way to involve reluctant writers in creating narratives. If this interests you, check out my free PDF, Using Comic Editors with Kids. There are several LEGO comic builders I've shared at The Book Chook:
LEGO Pharaoh's Quest (update, 2014, seems to have disappeared)
LEGO City Comic Builder
LEGO DC Universe Superheroes Comic Builder
LEGO Hero Factory (update, 2014, seems to have disappeared)

* Make a book at Story Jumper

* Make a poster at Motivator
If your kids are looking for a quick way to get a message across to an audience via a digital poster, check out Motivator with them. Part of the Big Huge Labs suite of tools, Motivator makes it simple to upload a photo and add text to it. You can check out an example in my post for Cow Appreciation Day.

* Create an online book with Carnegie Library's My Story Maker

* Tell a story orally via an avatar with Voki

* Make a digital comic book at Myths and Legends

* Make a Bayeux Tapestry-style tale with the Historic Tale Construction Kit. (Still working on 23/8/13!)

* Make a video at Pixorial

* Create stories, animation, comics and drawings at Kerpoof (update, 2014, seems to have disappeared)

You might also be interested in telling a story in five frames with photographs and captions.


  1. Just checked out the Myths and Legends website and it looks like a great site for making comics with my class next year. I really like the option of publishing children's work too! (pinned)

  2. Hi Carly! Thanks for the pin. Myths and Legends has that really authentic look that's perfect for medieval studies or any literacy work on myths, legends etc. Another you might like is the Bayeux Tapestry one. I'll edit my post above and add it.

  3. My daughter is homeschooling this year. I'll alert her to this post and to the great resources on your website. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I remember that we both started blogging around the same time. You're still going strong!

  4. Hi Cathy! I don't get as much time to read the blogs in my reader as i would like, but always enjoy my visits to Words, World and Wings! Hope your daughter enjoys The Book Chook as much.


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