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Digital Storytelling with Animated Powerpoint – 100,000 Youtube Views and Counting!

4 Mar

In 2011, some of you were there with me when I gave my first conference presentations to standing room only crowds at both FETC in Orlando, FL and in Philadelphia at the ISTE Conference.  The presentation was titled “Elementary Media Projects You Have to See to Believe!” and it never failed to live up to the hype.  With innovative project ideas and inspirational student work samples, student-created media was (and is) one of my favorite things to speak on.  It’s truly incredible what even our youngest students can do!

Click to view student-created example!

One of the most popular projects from that presentation was the use of animations in PowerPoint to create digital storybooks that played like an animated movie.  This type of project supports reading, writing, fluency and editing.  It helps students to think and write with all of their senses and to experiment with various concepts of spatial thinking.  Plus, it actually serves as a great precursor to computer programming through the use of strategic design thinking in executing both linear and parallel animation sequences to accomplish different visual effects.  And the kids just love it!

To support my own students, as well as the other students and teachers who started experimenting with this type of project, I created a set of tutorial videos that walk through each step of the process.  I then hosted them on YouTube so that teachers could embed the tutorial videos into their own school and class websites to share with their students.  Since then, countless numbers of student created projects have followed…. along with this week’s 100,000 viewer milestone for the full tutorial on YouTube!

I wanted to share this momentous milestone with each of you who have used and shared these resources.  Your efforts to give your students voice and purpose are commendable… and it has brought me great pleasure to provide this and other resources to the incredible ed-tech community over the last few years!

And if you are new to this idea, below you can find the video and some information about using it in class.  You can also learn more about innovative ways to use PowerPoint and other student media creation tools in the Interactive Student-Created Digital Media Portal in the site’s Resources.

Happy creating, learning, and teaching!
-Nancye

Creating with Animated PowerPoints

Kids love illustrating their stories. Using clip art in PowerPoint is a great way to allow our young students to create complex illustrations for their writing and stories without depending on their ability to draw them. And the best part? When they’re all done, these animated storybooks actually play like a movie.

The Concept:
Illustrate and animate a narrative using custom animations and timers in PowerPoint or comparable presentation software

The Applications:
Creative Writing – Identifying Setting & Characters, Plot, Sequencing, Character Development, Dialogue, Voice
Math – Real World Problem Solving, Geometric Transformations, Equivalent Fractions
Demonstrate Scientific Concepts – Virtual Experiments, Revolution of the Planets, Water Cycle
Social Studies Concepts – Election Process, Teeth Care/Dentist, People in my Neighborhood
*Students can complete a whole story or documentary on their own or each student make one slide to combine into a class “video.”

The Hows:
Prerequisite skills: Decent spelling ability (clip art searches must be spelled correctly), Familiarity with the basics of PowerPoint (text boxes, clip art, transitions)

  • The Storyboard – Before beginning to create the animated illustrations, students should either write their rough/final drafts of their story or voice overs… or at least have a decent flow map story board or what happens in each scene.
  • Create slides using the following tutorial video. You can also embed this video into your own teacher website to use with your students.
    • Have students save their work often. At least once every ten minutes.

This video and/or the step-by-step tutorials below can be linked/embedded into your class or school website.

TIPS:

  • Inserting clipart – All backgrounds and clipart should be inserted as movable objects. Objects that come in and out of the scene can be placed outside of the slide. Also, let students use creative problem solving to “crop” clip art to get one piece of a larger picture.
  • Custom Animations – When creating the animations, instead of using “after previous,” set all animations to happen at the same time and then use the time delay to make them happen over the span of the slide. If you don’t do this, the animations won’t run at the same time as the narration after they are recorded.

Visit our class website to see several more samples, like:
A Retelling of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” by a 4th Grader
Animated Commercial integrating Excel Graph by a 3rd Grader
Science Experiment Demo
And for some mind-blowing inspiration, check out some of the work at the PowerPoint Heaven website!

Video Tutorials – To use with your students or embed into your own site!
Full Video
Part 1: Intro & Samples
Part 2: Getting Started: Background and Clip Art
Part 3: Adding Custom Animations
Part 4: Adding Text
Part 5: Recording Narration
Part 6: Setting Automatic Timers

Empowering Students with Digital Media Creation

25 Aug

The new school year is getting underway.  We are filling drawers with math manipulatives, cabinets with supplies for science experiments, shelves with books… and lesson plans with inspired ideas for teaching reading, writing and arithmetic.

Yet, while we make plans to teach these tangible standards, let’s not forget to plan lessons that teach the intangibles, too — Dignity, compassion, identity.  Let’s commit to intentionally making plans that provide our students with opportunities to discover their greatest potential, to making plans to share that potential with the world.

One way to start is to give power to their unique voice though digital media creation.  Technology tools provide opportunities for students to create diverse and engaging media that can be showcased for live audiences around the world.

Throughout this year, I will be posting innovative technology tools, lesson applications and even opportunities for you to share about the amazing digital media created by your students.  Interactive Student-Created Digital Media PortalIn addition, this summer at ISTE 2012 was the official launch of the Engaging Education Interactive Student-Created Digital Media Portal.  This portal provides ideas and tutorials for integrating Movie-making and Animations, Digital Storytelling, Audio and Podcasting, 3D Media, and Web 2.0 Apps. Plus, the Resource section can direct you to free, copyright-friendly photos and screen/video capture apps.  This Interactive Portal is the perfect place to get that first idea to kick off the school year.

So, what are you waiting for?  Empower your students this school year through student-created digital media projects…  And be sure to share their amazing creations with a world who sincerely needs to hear their inspiring voices!

7 Ways Technology Can Enhance Your World Read Aloud Day Celebration

2 Mar

With World Read Aloud Day just around the corner, it’s not too late to use your technological resources to enhance your celebration and bring reading to life for your students. Here are seven ways to do just that!

1. Guest Readers & Audiences – Using Skype, iChat, Facetime or other applications, classes can bring in virtual guest readers. Guest readers come in all shapes and sizes. LitWorld and Kate Messner both provided a list of published authors who are willing to Skype with students on WRAD, which you can find at
LitWorld.org/WorldReadAloudDayChats
KateMessner.com/skype-with-an-author-on-world-read-aloud-day-2012
Yet, guest readers can also be students’ parents or grandparents, volunteers from local businesses or organizations, or even students and teachers at other schools. If you would like to connect with other educators who are interested in Skyping for WRAD, visit this wiki created by John Schu and Shannon Miller – ChangeTheWorldStoryByStory.wikispaces.com/Skype+Schedules+and+Projects.
By the way, don’t miss out on the opportunity to allow your own students to serve as the Guest Readers for other classes or schools as well!

2. Podcasting – Get your students excited about reading by using voice-recording applications to record themselves reading aloud. Vocaroo.com or the Voice Memos app on various iDevices are simple ways to implement this… or use a more robust program like Audacity, Aviary or Garageband, which would even allow students to add mood music or sound effects to their productions. Play these finished masterpieces for the class or publish them online to share with others!

3. Talking Avatars – Using the voice recording function at Voki.com, students can use their voices to create an avatar that can read aloud to the class. Whether Abraham Lincoln is reading the Gettysburg Address or a cat is reading Carl Sandburg’s famous Fog poem, this activity will delight students of all ages.
Bonus: Students can read their own poems and compositions aloud as well! Check out this elementary Voki project by Samantha Lewis that promotes literacy and writing through Dr. Seuss inspired rhyming poems.

4. VoicethreadVoicethread is a dynamic digital media tool that will allow your students to write or record comments. For World Read Aloud Day, create a Voicethread with slides for various figures of speech or genres and allow your students to read aloud to audio or video record examples that they discover in literary works. (Learn more about this tool’s potential at Voicethread.com.)

5. Digital Storytelling – To celebrate both reading and writing, consider allowing the students to create Digital Storybooks using the Web 2.0 application, Little Bird Tales. This application allows students to compose a written piece, draw original illustrations and record themselves reading the book aloud. Best of all, they are easy to share with the class, e-mail to parents or paste on your class website.

6. Puppet Shows or Reader’s Theater – Lights! Camera! Action! Bring reading to life with a little drama! Use your document camera to create live or recorded Read Alouds of Reader’s Theater or other works with engaging images of student-created popsicle stick avatars, finger puppets or other manipulatives. For example, read Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar with a large popsicle stick avatar of the caterpillar and real versions of the red apple, two green pears, a cupcake, a single leaf and more.

7. Video Book Reviews – Students can use a webcam, Flipcam or Doc Cam to record a review of a favorite book, including sharing illustrations and reading their favorites passages aloud.
Bonus: Upload these video book reviews online and connect their URLs to QR codes (qrcode.kaywa.com) that can be printed and affixed to the cover of the book for other students to watch throughout the school year!

Using Technology, you can easily use your World Read Aloud Day event to ignite a passion for reading in your students and allow it to spread far beyond your classroom walls.

World Read Aloud Day takes place on Wednesday, March 7th. For more ideas, activities resources, visit LitWorld.org/WorldReadAloudDayActivities. You can even download their original picture book, New Day, New Friends, to share with your class!

Cool Web 2.0 Tools for Digital Storytelling

13 Oct

Writing is a lot more fun when you can create illustrations, storybooks, or movies to go with it!

Here are several “MUST TRY” Web 2.0 tools
that help you do just that!
(Plus, our fifth graders have ranked and evaluated them for you!)

www.storyjumper.com/school
What it is: Digital Storybook Tool
Student Rank: 8.2/10.0
Pros: You can print your book! Has lots of characters and facial expressions. Can upload your own images.
Cons: None.

www.myths.e2bn.org
What it is: Digital Storybook Tool
Student Rank: 8.0/10.0
Pros: This has cool and creepy pictures, backgrounds and moving animations. You can record your voice or sounds effects. Plus, there are great stories to read on here, too!
Cons: Can’t print it out

www.edu.xtranormal.com
What it is: Animated Movie Tool
Student Rank: 7.9/10.0
Pros: The students found this easy to use, saying, “It lets you be creative and make your own movie with cool background sounds and avatars.”
Cons: Can’t print it.

www.zooburst.com
What it is: Digital Pop-up Storybook Tool
Student Rank: 7.5/10.0
Pros: Uses cool Pop-Up illustrations to create a book. You can add your own ideas and upload your own images.
Cons: You can’t print without the premium version. While some of the 5th graders loved it, some thought the pictures and concept would be better for younger kids. (PS: Our 3rd graders would use it all day!)

www.prezi.com
What it is: Non-linear Presentation App
Student Rank: 7.6/10.0
Pros: You can share what you know in any format; objects can be rotated, flipped, or re-sized; you can add images, sounds, or videos
Cons: Many students felt Prezi was hard to get the hang of; there are no images or video in the program (you have to upload them yourself).

www.storybird.com
What it is: Digital Storybook Tool
Student Rank: 8.9/10.0
Pros: Storybird lets you make your own book and story. They said it was inspiring to write based on a picture prompt and use professional illustrations/artwork. They liked adding funny text to the pictures. Plus, you can write the story with someone else!
Cons: the pictures are limited and you can’t edit them, you can’t print it without paying
(More tips for Storybird in the Student Created Media Resources)

Others to check out:
www.animoto.com
www.littlebirdtales.com