Monday, April 28, 2014

Creating Digital Stories with iPad

Creating Digital Stories with iPad
by Susan Stephenson,

I love to find ways for children to create digital stories. Apart from the fact that I applaud kids creating ANY stories, digital storytelling has the added benefit of including technology. Much to do with tech is inherently motivating for kids, and digital tools provide many different formats for them to explore.

So here’s my beginning list of iPad apps that can be used in some way to tell a digital story, either oral, in picture form, written or a combination.

I’ll start with, and link to, the apps I’ve managed to review so far. Many of the next set of apps is the list I’ve downloaded and used, and may review properly sometime soon. I’ll include some comments where I can, kind of mini-reviews. Finally, there's a list of apps I think may be useful for digital storytelling but know little about.

This post will be a work in progress and I will update it over time.

1. Digital Storytelling Apps I’ve Reviewed

In many of these apps, the writing is minimal, making them useful to reluctant writers or younger children with technical knowhow.

Pic Collage
ChatterPix Kids
Night Zookeeper Drawing Torch
Haiku Deck
Visual Poet
Strip Designer
Word Mover
Trading Cards
Telling Stories with iPad Apps ToonPAINT and Strip Designer
Comic Book/Comic Puppets Lite
Write About This
Tell About This
PhotoComic and The DAILY MONSTER Monster Maker
30 Hands
Screen Chomp: kids could tell a story but it's particularly useful for explanatory videos etc
We Publish
LEGO Movie Maker
Toontastic, (Toontastic Jr Pirates, Toontastic Shrek etc)

2. More Apps for Digital Storytelling (with mini reviews)

Creaza Cartoonist Edu is only for use in schools with a valid license to Creaza Premium. It’s a lot like the web version of Creaza, but I find it a little fiddlier to add dialogue. It uses the traditional cartoon format of panels to tell a story, with provided artwork.

Comic Life I already own Comic Life as a Mac application, so I haven't purchased it for my iPad ($4.99). But I LOVE Comic Life and must mention it as an app that’s great for digital storytelling even though I haven't tested the iPad app. It is a comic/cartoon application making use of photos as the pictures.

Dragon Dictation allows us to dictate into the iPad’s microphone, and it converts that into text. It worked fine when I used it first but now it keeps telling me my language (English) is not supported. Perhaps this is a French plot? If I can get it working fine again, I hope to review it. I think it’s definitely worth considering for digital storytelling for children who need support in converting stories from their head into digital text.

PixnTell is an easy and intuitive app to use. Children can tell a story by recording their voices over the photos they choose, and PixnTell generates this into a video. The app is free but ads continually pop up for you to upgrade to the $0.99c version and remove watermark. Lots of sharing options.

Poetics is another very simple app that encourages kids to add words to an image. It’s best for adding a short poem, a caption or a micro-story.

Story Creator - Easy Story Book Maker for Kids This is a very simple app for creating digital stories. Seems it should be a useful one for family stories. Sharing options are limited though. You can email a link or share with someone else who has the app. However, the time I tried to follow the email link, it wouldn’t work. I probably won’t review this app.

Shadow Puppet is brilliantly simple for kids to use. They simply need to choose photos from their camera roll and then record what they want to say as they slide between their chosen pics. The resulting video can be sent to Grandparents or friends, making this a great app for families. I reviewed this app in August 2014.

Tellagami has loads of potential. It is a little like Voki in that it provides an avatar for kids to talk through. First you customise a character and then choose a background. Some free backgrounds but most you need to purchase. Kids can then record their voices or type a message for the character to say. I hope to review this soon.

WordPack is an app that encourages children to add text to a simple shape. It’s a quick and easy way for children to tell a brief digital story that also results in a digital image of their text. It would be excellent to use with younger kids who want to write “I love Grandma” or “I love Daddy” inside a heart shape, or any other story to suit any of the 120 other shapes.

Tall Tales 2 is a quick and easy to navigate version of mad libs for kids. They’ll enjoy choosing different parts of speech and think the resulting story is funny. The tales can be saved to the library in-app, but not shared with others, sadly. Free makes Tall Tales 2 worth a look.

StoryKit is another very simple app. There are some very old public domain stories inside, but it’s perfect for digital storytelling because it allows us to use our iPad’s pictures and our own text to create a new book. Stories are saved in the iPhone/iPad.The link to the book once done can be emailed, then it can be read via a computer at the web address given in the email.

Puppet Pals gives kids a chance to manipulate story, characters, settings and dialogue to create a little animated movie. The director's pass buys all current and future content. There's are excellent tips for using it with students here.

3. Apps I Haven’t Had a Chance to Explore that Might Be Useful for Digital Storytelling

I have some of these on the iPad but it takes me ages to review an app properly. I hope to move some from this list to one of the lists above. If you have any to recommend, please leave a comment or email me via Contact Me.

Book Creator
Cookie Book
Draw and Tell
tapsBook (suggested by commenter below)

Shake-a-Phrase, Write About This, Tell a Tale and SparkleFish are four apps that provide digital prompts for children to go on and create their own stories, perhaps by using some of the apps in the lists above.

You might also like to read 2013 iPad App Reviews at The Book Chook and January-March 2014 Children's iPad App Reviews at The Book Chook, or check out Digital Storytelling for Kids Online.

If you've enjoyed this post, or any others at The Book Chook, I'd love you to help me spread my literacy, learning and literature ideas by promoting via Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, StumbleUpon, G+ or any other way you decide. 


  1. Hi Susan,

    This is a great list - thanks for compiling! I'd also recommend checking out tapsBook (


    1. Thanks for the suggestion, Jane. I'll add it to my "consideration" list.


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