Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” One powerful way that we can deeply involve our students in the process of learning is through the act of digital storytelling. When students harness the power of the digital world to tell stories, they become deeply involved in their learning and empowered as thinkers. In today’s post we are going to look at an iOS app which makes the art of digital storytelling simple for students and teachers. Shadow Puppet EDU is a free video creation app for schools which allows students and teachers to easily assemble digital stories. The digital stories created with Shadow Puppet can be saved as a video on the iPad or shared in a variety of ways. Let’s take a look at how to get started with this app.
How to Get Started
- To get started, download Shadow Puppet EDU from the app store – Click Here
- Once you open the app, a quick tutorial will play showing the basics steps to get started. Tap Next to go through the introduction.
- Select Create New to begin
- Begin selecting photos from the sources on the left. The image search options on the left include a variety of sources including Creative Commons photos, backgrounds, and photos already on the iPad. Once images are selected the can be reordered. Select Next to move on to the next step.
- Crop the images used for the story by pinching and zooming the screen to fit the images as desired. Add text and music to the slides and slideshow. Press the Mic to mute the mic for your presentation. Once the presentation is ready, press Start.
- As you are recording the presentation, everything you say will be captured by the microphone in time with each photo. As you press the arrow to advance, your audio will be tied to each photo. Additionally, the tool bar on the left, provides some fun tools to use as pointers during the presentation. Once complete, press Save to finish up.
- After you press Save, the sharing options available will be presented. If you would like to save to the Camera Roll of the iPad, press done and it will go back to the home screen of the app.
- Save to the camera roll and other features are available by selecting the project from the home screen of the app. In the top right are additional options for your story. From this menu you can access the sharing features again, save to the camera roll, re-record, and delete the project. At this point, you are finished with your story. It can be viewed in the app or in the places where you have shared the video.
- Create a commercial to persuade viewers to buy a product
- Find and share angles or geometric shapes and explain them
- Journal experiences on a topic or science experiment
- Create a project about a historical figure or time in history
- Use the Met Museum of Art to present artwork from different time periods and genres
- Create vocabulary cards with accompanying images
Why it Matters (Teacher Rubric)
Digital storytelling applications are a great way for teachers to design multiple assessments that can be aligned to learning outcomes. Many times these projects turn out to be great summative assessments based on the time and scope involved in creating them. Apps such as Shadow Puppet can be used by the teacher to differentiate instruction for students and provide varying means to deliver instruction. (Multiple Assessments Aligned to Goals and Learning Outcomes 1.3, Presenting Instructional Content 2.2)
While this app is designed for the iPad, there are many other similar tools which can be used on a desktop computer.
- PowToon Edu
- PhotoStory (Windows software)
- Audacity (Audio only – Windows and Mac)
- iMovie and iPhoto Slideshows (Mac software)
- Windows Movie Maker (Windows software)
The University of Houston College of Education has a website about Digital Storytelling which contains a number of resources for the classroom. The makers of Shadow Puppet have also created some great resources complete with lesson ideas and printable masters for storyboarding, image search help, and digital storytelling resources.
Take a look at Shadow Puppet EDU and consider how you might use digital storytelling in the classroom. What project ideas begin to surface as you think about empowering your students to tell stories using digital tools? Are there units or concepts that would lend themselves to digital storytelling? What kind of assessments would be possible with an app like this?
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