Computing for Kids's Blog

Technology Integration Ideas for the Elementary School Teacher

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  • About Me

    I have been in the field of educational technology since 1988. I began as a computer teacher for Futurekids Inc. in Los Angeles. Soon after, I purchased one of their first franchises, which I operated for three years. In 1997, I began Computing for Kids, a computer enrichment program for young children, which operates in local private schools in Southern California. I earned a Master’s degree in educational technology in 2008 and for the past four years, I have served as the technology specialist at a private elementary school, teaching students in grades 1 – 5 in a computer lab setting.

    My goal with this blog is to provide elementary classroom teachers with Internet resources that will enhance their curriculum. Some websites are very simple to integrate into a lesson, and others require a more thorough approach. But there is something for every level of comfort with technology.

    Please let me know what you think!

Digital Storytelling

Posted by Computing for Kids on October 15, 2010

What is it? Digital Storytelling is “the modern expression of the ancient art of storytelling. Digital stories derive their power by weaving images, music, narrative and voice together, thereby giving deep dimension and vivid color to characters, situations, experiences, and insights”

Why use it? Why use digital storytelling with your students?  Digital storytelling gives students a voice and the ability to express their creativity.  When students go beyond the typical written report and create a movie or interactive slideshow to tell their story, learning becomes more interactive, and thus more personal.    And with the potential of a far reaching audience, student work becomes more authentic. Digital Storytelling also has the ability to improve writing skills, particularly for the reluctant writer!  All this is possible with digital storytelling!

Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling is a comprehensive site that explains why teachers should use digital storytelling in the classroom. It also includes explanations and examples of how digital storytelling aligns with content standards, and the many ways it can be used with your students.

There are so many websites that you can use with your students to create digital stories.  Here are a some that I like:

Picture a Story blends famous works of art with stories.  Students choose a genre of story that they want to tell, and then choose a famous painting background for their story.  They can add characters (also from famous works of art), props, and then tell the story. If a microphone is available, students can even record the story in their own voice.  When students have completed their story, it can be shared via email, or you can take a screenshot and save it to your computer.

PicLits lets students choose a picture and words from a word bank to create a sentence or story.

Kerpoof allows students to make storybooks, pictures, cards, and even movies, offering a beautiful array of backgrounds, props and characters to choose from.

Glogster EDU lets students create online posters that can include files, images and video.

Myths and Legends lets students combine pictures that they compose with clip art or images that they upload, sound, and words to create a digital story.

StoryBird lets students create stories based on beautiful illustrations by artists.  It also offers the ability to collaborate with others.

Piki Kids Comic Creator is an online comic creator, where students can choose the number of panels, the look of the panels, and the color choices.

Animoto allows students to create 30 second videos that combine images, songs, and text.

ZooBurst lets students create virtual 3D popup books.  Students can even view their popup book in augmented reality as it comes to life with a webcam.

Toon Doo gives students the ability to quickly create comic strips which showcase their imagination and creativity.

Smile Box lets students combine photos, videos, and music into one amazing multimedia presentation.

Creaza has four tools in its toolbox.  Mindomo is the mind mapping tool. Cartoonist is a cartooning tool that students can use to create multimedia stories. Movie Editor helps students produce their own movies based on Creaza’s thematic universes, video, images, and sound clips. Audio Editor is a tool that allows students to produce audio clips.

Voice Thread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos.  Click HERE for ideas on how to use it in the classroom.

Stage’d is a tool that helps students tell digital stories in a new 3-d way.  Students can create a stage full of characters and dialogue as if they are directing their own digital play.  They can choose characters, costumes, animations, set design along with text.

Picture Book Maker is a place for students to create picture books, with animals as the characters.  There are also several backdrops and props for students to choose from.  This site is unique in that the illustrations look hand drawn.

My Story Maker is an easy-to-use, interactive story writing tool for students just learning to read.  It automatically generating sentences based upon a student’s choice of characters, objects, settings, and actions.

Domo Animate gives students the ability to create animations by choosing backdrops, characters, dialogue, props, music, and special effects.


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