Thing 5: Digital Storytelling & Presentation Tools


Our next topic is Digital Storytelling & Presentation Tools. Storytelling and presenting are really too intertwined to separate since giving an effective presentation is really all about good storytelling.

This lesson will present a selection of tools to help tell stories through photos, voice, text, video, cartoons and music.  Use these tools to share personal stories, create more effective presentations, present assignments, creative storytelling, and so much more.  (If, like me, you haven’t sent out any holiday cards yet, you could even create a digital holiday themed video greeting card.)

There’s also a section on finding creative-commons licensed images and music, as well as information explaining what creative-commons licensing means.

HELP! There’s a lot of information on this lesson page. Don’t let it intimidate you! Look at a few examples and play with a couple of the tools. You don’t have to look at every tool and resource listed. We just wanted to provide a wide variety of resources to meet all interests and skill levels.

TIP: My secret to testing out multiple tools in a hurry is to gather together 5-10 of my own photos and use them over and over. That way I can focus on how the tools work, rather than worrying about the perfect photos and the perfect storyline.


In the lists below you’ll find a wide range of examples and tools that can be used at a variety of grade levels and for a range of purposes.

More examples and resources to explore:


Take this chance to explore some tools you haven’t used before or ones that you want to explore in more depth. This list is purposely all mixed up to encouarage you to explore! Below this list you’ll find links to sites with more tools.

  • Animoto for Education Animoto is an easy to use tool to create photo & music video stories. This would be a fun project for an art class. Or to create a video representing how you feel about a book or movie. Upload your photos, arrange the order, select a piece of music and let Animoto do it’s magic. You’ll have a great video slide show with great transitions and effects synched to the beat of the music. 30 second videos are free. Special accounts for educators.
  • MeoGraph – For stories that have a timeline and geographic components. Create a timeline, upload images, associate them with a geographic location, add narration.
  • – Upload slides, then narrate and record video of presenter. Slides and presenter appear on the screen together. Free accounts and education plans.
  • VoiceThread – Add photos, scanned drawings. Record audio with microphone or ‘phone it in’. Others can leave comments via text and audio.  Use for student book reviews with their own drawings and narration. Student created stories with photos or drawings. Narrated slide shows of community events. Book talks. (article: Using VoiceThread in the Classroom)
  • Knovio – Narrated presentation slide decks.
  • Storybird – Beautiful graphics to inspire your stories. Arrange the images as you wish, add text to tell your story. Story can be embedded on other web pages. Book versions can be printed for a fee. (article: Using StoryBird in the Classroom)
  • – Mix graphics, photos, videos, music and text into “glogs”. Takes the static poster to new heights! (Examples: Cocaine, Itzak Stern)
  • Prezi  – An interesting way of creating a presentation in a somewhat non-linear way. Place text, photos, and other media on a big blank screen. Arrange in the order you want to present it and add paths to connect all the pieces. Lets you zoom in and out to put focus on different pieces of the presentation. Could be used as a mindmapping tool. Lots of examplesPrezi’s Education Wiki
  • Kerpoof – Create a picture, story or movie’ Free, online, flash based tool. Provides cartoon backgrounds and objects to place on the background. Objects can be resized, rotated and repositioned. Create text ballons for thoughts and dialogues. Teacher ideas and lesson plans provided
  • NOTE: This service discontinued by Google. What a shame.  Search Stories – Google’s handy tool for creating a short “search video”. Enter 7 different searches that tell a story, the video will show search results, images, maps, etc. to create a little story.  Good exercise for planning a narrative. Examples: Moving to IstanbulMorning Glory Clouds.
  • Voki – Create a character, add your voice. Example: Paige Jaeger’s fun Voki
  • Xtranormal – “if you can type, you can make movies” Pick your characters and give them a voice, select background scenery and sounds. Add camera angles and movement. Use the “Quick Tips” button for a quick tour. It’s on the screen where you create and edit your movie. When you’re done, you can use the embed code on xtranormal to post it to your web site. Videos can also be posted to YouTube. Example: You Can’t Just Google It
  • Storify  – “Turn what people post on social media into compelling stories. You collect the best photos, video, tweets and more to publish them as simple, beautiful stories that can be embedded anywhere.” Read Storify This for more ideas on how it can be used in school.  (Examples: To Kill a Mockingbird,  Sidi Bou Zid: A Jasmine Revolution In Tunisia)

Apps – a mix of mobile/tablet apps for storytelling & presentations

  • Storyrobe – $.99 iPad app. Upload photo and narrate a story.
  • Toontastic – Free iPad app. Helps students develop an effective story with it’s Story Arc features.
  • Story Patch – $.99 iPad app. Write text for each page of a story and add images to illustrate.
  • Sock Puppets – looks like fun for younger kids.
  • Haiku Deck – Wonderful, free iPad app to create image based presentation slide-decks that can be shared on the web.
  • FlipIt iPad app A free animation app for the iPad. Example: The Process of Mitosis

More Resources: Explore these lists for more tools, tips and ideas


Finding Media: Searching for photos and music can take a lot of work, especially if you’re preparing an important presentation and are looking for just the right image to convey your message. Listed below are some tools to help you find media for presentations. The best way to find photos you can legally reuse, is to search for Creative Commons licensed images. Some image search tool have a way to limit your search to CC licensed content. Want to know more about Creative Commons? Read Creative Commons in K12 Education

  • IMPORTANT: Check for licensing terms of any photo you download. You’ll need to keep track of where you got the photo to give it proper credit.

Some basic image search tools

  • PhotoPin – My first stop for photo searching. Very easy to use and searches a number of sources for CC licensed photos.
  • CC search – search for images, video and music from one search page. Handy!
  • Flickr advanced search – Scroll to the botton of the screen and select the Creative Commons setting & “Find content to modify, adapt, or build upon”
  • compfight -Options to select licensing and safe search.
  • flick storm – Drop down menu to select the type of CC license to search by.


More Sources:


This learning activity is easy, fun and very flexible!

Basic AND Advanced Activity

Step 1: Pick a tool, any tool (whether on this page or another tool not mentioned) and create a short presentation, photo-video show, story, cartoon or whatever you’d like to share with us. Or pick an idea from the More Ideas list below.

Step 2Write a blog post about the tools you explored, how you might use them in your library and school, share other ideas and thought. Please title it “Thing 5″.

Step 3: If Possible -link to your project: Either post a link to your project in the blog post OR embed it in the blog post if the tool you chose has that feature available.

More Ideas to Explore

  • Pick an iPad or Android presentation/storytelling app to explore.
  • Brainstorm an idea for using tools you’re already familiar with your students.
  • Explore the ideas and tools in this article on infographics and create one of your own. How to Create Stunning Infographics in 30 Minutes or Less
  • Find some lesson plans/ideas that you might use as inspiration. Discuss how you might implement them.
  • Or any other creative project that involves storytelling/presentation tools.

2 Responses to Thing 5: Digital Storytelling & Presentation Tools

  1. Pingback: Digital Storytelling & Presentation Tools | SLS Cool Tools – Hudson Valley

  2. is an excellent free tool to create video presentations.

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