Teaching Digital Storytelling: Part 2
In the first of this series about Teaching Digital Storytelling I explained the basics of Digital Storytelling and how a teacher can get started using it in the classroom. This second article will look at different software that can be used to create digital stories.
Toondoo – A nice feature of ToonDoo is that it provides a large library of characters, backgrounds, and props. Several characters come in different poses, which provides a lot of flexibility in creating scenes. ToonDoo allows users to create single strips, or put several strips together into a book. There are several different layouts to choose from when beginning a project. Best feature: All functionality on the site are free.
Pixton – This site is great for cartoonists who want to be able to customize characters as much as possible, including expressions, postures, and even clothing. It also provides presets for those who don’t want to fiddle over every detail. Pixton offers some extra features for users who subscribe to a Pixton plus account.
MakeBeliefsComics – This is a very basic site for users who want to be able to create quick comics and are more focused on getting their story across to readers than the art. It is slightly limiting for users who want more control over visuals, especially because it is only in black and white, but is great for getting past writer’s block and sparking creativity.
Blabberize – This is a fun site where you can upload a picture and animate the mouth along with audio. Users can’t create full fledged animations with this tool, only talking heads, but it’s a lot of fun and easy to use.
Scratch -Scratch, a downloadable program, comes with a library of characters and background and it’s very easy to use any of your own art in a movie so it’s a very flexible program. It’s easy to get up and running quickly, but is sophisticated enough to keep a user’s attention for a long time.
FluxTime – This site uses an innovative way to create animations, by recording the user’s movements on screen. Fluxtime provides characters and backgrounds and also allows users to upload their own files.
Alice – This is a downloadable program where users create animations by dragging and dropping lines of code into an editor. Alice provides 3D models and various backgrounds, as well as props that users can use to build their movies. There is absolutely no graphics knowledge or skill required, which allows users to focus on the storytelling.
Google Sketchup – More graphically adventurous user may be interested in creating their own models; Google Sketchup makes this easy, without having to deal with the steep learning curve of many professional 3D modeling tools. Additionally, users can access the vast library of models created by other Sketchup users that is available online.
SAM Animation – This is not specifically 3D animation, it’s stop motion animation so you can use anything – 3D models, toys, drawings, anything you can find or create – as a basis for movies.
All of these tools are free and easy to use, so you can focus on creating stories rather than spending a lot of time learning how to use the software. So get creative!
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpaxonreyes/
Elisa teaches online professional development courses for teachers at teachertechtraining.com.
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