18 Free Digital Storytelling Tools For Teachers And Students

Free Digital Storytelling Tools For Teachers and Students
Summary: Do you believe that digital storytelling is important in education? Are you looking for a creative, critical, and powerful way to help your students? Would you be interested in a list of free digital storytelling tools?

Free Digital Storytelling Tools For Teachers And Students

Editor's note: We have originally written and published this article in February 2013. Thanks to your useful suggestions and our own following of the latest developments in the fast paced field of technology, we have updated this piece in November 2015 in the hope that you will keep finding it useful. Thank you for sharing! 

Stories are important. At the following list you will find 18 free digital storytelling tools, both websites and apps, which will help you use technology to tell a story while being highly creative and having fun.

11 Free Digital Storytelling Websites

  1. ACMI Generator
    ACMI Generator is a creative studio space where you can explore the moving image, be inspired, create your own moving image works, and share your creations with the Generator community. Gain a deeper understanding of the context of these inspiring stories through their education themes section. Try the Storyboard Generator and either choose a script or build your own storyboard and share it.
  2. Bubblr
    Bubblr is a tool to create comic strips using photos from flickr, just taking a sequence of pictures where you can add bubbles and create a story.
  3. Capzles
    All of your media and stories together like never before. Create rich multimedia experiences with videos, photos, music, blogs, and documents.
  4. Comic Master
    Comic Master allows you to create your own short graphic novel! With Comic Master you can decide how you want the page or your graphic novel to look, add backgrounds, choose characters and props to appear in your scenes, add dialogue and captions, and much more.
  5. MakeBeliefsComix
    At MakeBeliefsComix you can create your own comic strip with an easy and fun way. Choose a character and emotion, add talk or thought balloons, and start your character communicating. You can add other characters, colored backgrounds, objects, and panel prompts to keep your viewers interested. When you are done, you can print or email your comic.
  6. MapSkip
    The purpose of MapSkip is to create a weave of stories about the places in our lives. Create a free account and mark up places in Google Maps with your own stories and photos. You can also browse other users’ stories, rate them, and discuss them. The best part? MapSkip is free of ads!
  7. PicLits
    PicLits is a creative writing site that matches beautiful images with carefully selected keywords in order to inspire you. The object is to put the right words in the right place and the right order to capture the essence, story, and meaning of the picture.
  8. Slidestory
    Slidestory allows you to combine picture slideshows with voice narration. Each picture in a slideshow has an accompanying voice narrated mp3 audio file, optional tags, and text caption. Isn’t this a very exciting way to make presentations and share them?
  9. Smilebox
    Smilebox lets you quickly and easily create slideshows, invitations, greetings, collages, scrapbooks, and photo albums right on your computer. To get started, download and install the Smilebox application. Then simply select the photos you want to use, choose a template, add comments and music, and voila, you’ve made a Smilebox! With more than 1000 customizable templates to choose from, you’ll find inspiration around every corner.
  10. Storybird
    Storybird lets anyone make visual stories in seconds. They curate artwork from illustrators and animators around the world and inspire writers of any age to turn those images into fresh stories. Note that while making, sharing, and reading stories on Storybird is free, printing them or downloading them have various fees that are clearly explained with each option.
  11. ZooBurst
    ZooBurst is a digital storytelling tool that lets anyone easily create his or her own 3D popup books. ZooBurst books “live” online and can be experienced on your desktop or laptop computer, or on your iPad via the free ZooBurst mobile app. Authors can arrange characters and props within a 3D world that can be customized using uploaded artwork or items found in a built-in database of over 10,000 free images and materials. The basic, free, account allows you to create 10 books of 10 pages each.
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7 Free Apps For Digital Storytelling

  1. Adobe Slate
    Named App Store Editors’ Choice, Adobe Slate lets you turn your next newsletter, report, invitation, or travel adventure into a gorgeous visual story that delights readers on any device. Simply tap to select a unique look; beautiful fonts, color, and magazine-style design are automatically incorporated. Fluid movement and elegant motion are applied instantly. Create your Slate story and share the link anywhere.
  2. Puppet Pals
    Create your own unique shows with animation and audio in real time! Simply pick out your actors and backdrops, drag them on to the stage, and tap record. Your movements and audio will be recorded in real time for playback later. This app is as fun as your own creativity!
  3. ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard
    Turn your iPad into your personal interactive whiteboard: ShowMe allows you to record voice over whiteboard tutorials and share them online. It’s an amazingly simple app that anyone can use; no matter how young or old.
  4. Sock Puppets
    Sock Puppets lets you create your own lip-synched videos and share them on Facebook and YouTube. Add puppets, props, scenery, and backgrounds and start creating. Hit the record button and the puppets automatically lip-synch to your voice.
  5. Toontastic
    Toontastic is a storytelling and creative learning tool that enables kids to draw, animate, and share their own cartoons with friends and family around the world through simple and fun imaginative play! With over 2 million cartoons created in over 150 countries, parents and teachers rave about the app and kids can't stop creating!
  6. WeVideo
    Make and share videos using WeVideo's online video editing software, available on Android, iPhone, iPad, Mac, PC, and Chromebook. In this cloud-based collaborative video creation platform, you can save your work to your hard drive, upload to the cloud, and pick up where you left off on another computer. Note that free accounts are limited to 5 minutes of published video time and 2GB of cloud storage.
  7. 30hands Starter
    A very easy and exciting way to tell a story, explain a concept, or flip a classroom. Create a multimedia presentation in minutes and publish it as a video to share. This tool was designed to be simple and fast, so it takes backseat to learning and expression. In a single class period, students can complete a video activity. Mapping these activities to a longer project helps students make PBL projects authentic and fun. Whether you are in Kindergarten or College, 30hands Storyteller helps you learn better by following UDL principles and getting you to think and create iteratively.

You may also find the following lists of tools useful: