What’s your story? I want to know…

In the end, folks, we ain’t nothing but a song…a story” Joe Lambert, Centre for Digital Storytelling

Creative Commons - From Flikr by Tim Hettler
Creative Commons – From Flikr by Tim Hettler

What’s your story? 

There are 7.4 billion stories in the world. No one story is the same. No one is like you. You are unique. Your life journey, your experiences, your achievements, your challenges are a series of footprints that have brought you to this very moment in time as you read these words.

How can we tell our story? 

Storytelling is not a new art. It has been happening since the time of cavemen. In these time stories were told by drawing symbols and pictures on a cave wall. Stories have evolved to more verbal communication. With stories being passed on from generation to generation by word of mouth. The first printing  press started in 1440 and so a love of books began.  But because most people were illiterate until the 19th Century change was slow. Now we are moving to a more pictographic form of communication with the use of 21st tools.

This change in how we tell our story is a good thing for our brain. After all

you’ve got a dial-up connection from the ear to the brain and broadband from the eye to the brain.

We are moving from people of the book to people of the screen ( A second Gutenburg shift).

But why the change? 

The simple reason is technology. Digital natives have been born into an innate “new culture” of the digital world. Technology advancements have meant that an emerging set of cheap tools is now making it easy to create digital video. We live in a time where  most popular Youtube videos are watched as many times as any blockbuster movie. Because the most powerful producer of visual imagery is the individual, its you.

What are these devices?

As technology firms continue to compete in the crowded hardware market it means that consumers can get more value for money.  Cheaper products are available such as: –

  • Digital cameras
  • Mobile phones,  
  • Flip Video cameras,
  • Tablets
  • Laptops

These products allow for the creation of more digital content. These images, audio, and video recorded on these devices are being fused together to create short movies ( typically with an emotive message).

What are the tools that we use to create and share our story?

There are so many tools out there to use it really depends on the purpose. There are tools that can help merge video snippets, voice, music, still images together so that you can create a finished film or movie.

Video editing and Creation

iMoviePixorial,, PowToon ,Wideo, Adobe Slate, WeVideoACMI Generator, Bubblr, Capzles, Animoto

There are tools that gives opportunities to mess around by creating online 3D pop up books, cartoons to tell a story, and sock puppets.

Messing around

Puppet pals, Sock puppets, Toontastic, 30handsstarter, zooburst, ComicMaster, Makebeliefscomix, Mapskip , Piclits, Slidestory, Smilebox, Storybird

There are tools that allow for instant sharing of our stories or messages.

Media messages

Vine, Snapchat, Instagram.

How does this effect the classroom? 

It depends on the story that you are telling.  Therefore choosing the right tools to tell your story is vital.

Creative Commons - J.Bevans
Messing around – Creative Commons – J.Bevans

This week I started the process of digital storytelling in the classroom. I gave the children the opportunity to mess around using bookcreator. I choose this specifically as the children now how to use it. I gave the children a task that in a pair they need to create a story using pictures already on the camera roll. They chose 6 pictures and on each page created audio to tell the story. Their story was complete by exporting as a video.

Then I gave them a blank canvas – create a story (any story ) you want in six boxes ( we were planning in analog to limit distractions.) There was real buzz about the room. everyone was on task excited to get their story down on paper. Here is that process.

Storyboard planning -Creative Commons -J.Bevans
Storyboard planning -Creative Commons -J.Bevans
A finished storyboard -Creative Commons- J.Bevans
A finished storyboard -Creative Commons- J.Bevans
Searching for images -Creative Commons -J.Bevans
Searching for images -Creative Commons -J.Bevans









Next a mini lesson about searching for Creative Commons pictures using Chrome and citing back to source. Powerful images will bring the story to life. The children are now in the process of  turning these into movies (this time using iMovie). Adding music, sound effects and creating images ( using small world equipment- including lego) will mean the children’s stories can be brought to life.

When they are complete I will share a few of them with you. Along with the answers to my story (via video of course!) 

This process of creating a story got me thinking about doing more of this. And it really could be adapted to anything. Instruction writing. Science Experiment. Persuasive writing. Field trips. You name it. But…

I want to know your story…

So, I’d love to ask you something, and I’m not asking a rhetorical question. You could write the answers, you could record a Vine, you could make an iMovie, you could send me a SnapChat. The point is there are so many mediums to use to tell your story. But I really want to know…

What is your story?

  • Who makes up your family?
  • When did a member of your family make you laugh?
  • Where do you live?

16 thoughts on “What’s your story? I want to know…

  1. Hi Joel,

    Love your post and all the cool tools you always share. Thanks for the story planner, I would love to share our students’ stories once they are finished and I’ll send you my story. Actually I just laughed out loud a few minutes ago- one of my boys just showed me a vine compilation. Old meets new, love it.


    1. Hi Suzy,
      Thanks for the comments. Six second stories could be the way forward – Lets think about using Vine in Grade 1? Little snippets of information could really work .
      Looking forward to sharing our stories together. Mito’s was brilliant.
      Cheers, Joel


  2. Hi Joel,

    My elementary technology integration counterpart Mike has been telling me about Adobe Voice for a couple of months now, but I jumped on it with your challenge. It is pretty great.

    I have not looked closely at digital storytelling for a couple of years, and you are right, there are so many great tools out there. Telling one’s story is such an important skill to practice, as is listening to stories. Put those two skills together and it is known as learning, right.

    Thanks for the post and the challenge.

    Anyway, here is mine: https://voice.adobe.com/a/neKgL/


    1. Hi Marcello,
      Thanks so much for your comments. It is much appreciated. I love using Adobe Voice ( I have only just discovered it) and this weekend I have been messing around with Adobe Slate which also has some great features.
      It is great that you wanted to share your story. I really enjoyed watching it. So many of the things that you touch on, I can relate too. Music, wonder, family…Thanks for sharing. Cheers, Joel


  3. Hi Joel,
    Mr. D. here from ONLINE 1. Just wanted to say thanks! We had fun chatting about your post on #COETAILchat last night! I really LIKE the way your post is written: so well organised, easy to understand, and very actionable. I already shared it with some teachers here who will be taking you up on your challenge!
    I find myself WONDERING about your invoking the “digital native” piece (from 2001). The term is fraught, and there’s been a lot of field-work based research since then.
    Where I am at in my own thinking and practice re. it, I’ve decided that if Ts engage with Ss as if “digital natives” are real (regardless of if they actually are or not) it can lead to compounding inequality and inequity during learning.
    I’ve had students come to me after school asking me to teach them how to do something with their device/app after another teacher they had assumed they could already do it or already understood it, just because of their young age. T
    Also, the way the demographics/understanding/ability to do usually fragment tellingly along intersectional lines (and among them, especially socio-economic and gender): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersectionality

    Have you considered these two pieces on “digital nativity” — they cut right to the heart of the issue:
    Do “Digital Natives” Exist? | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios

    P. 176 here:
    “literacy are today’s youth digital natives?”

    Click to access ItsComplicated.pdf

    I’d love to hear your thoughts!


    1. Hi Mr. D.,
      Thanks for your comments. It is much appreciated. I really enjoyed my first #coetailchat yesterday. It really is great to connect with educators from across the world.
      Many thanks for your wonderings about “digital natives” and the links that you kindly shared. I agree with you that we should not expect children to understand how to use technological tools just because of their age. It is not something that you are naturally born with. It is likely that children will be using technology at some point in their Early Years of their lives. What is not guaranteed is how they are using the tools and if those tools will be helpful throughout their education or how these tools work.
      This is why teaching digital literacy is so important from a very Early Age. I think that children who are immersed in something since they were born would give them tools to pick things up quicker and make connections with things that have previously been learnt.
      Thanks again for your comments, wonderings and links.
      Cheers, Joel
      Instead it is


  4. I was intrigued by the idea you addressed that we are returning to a “caveman communication” (https://bit.ly/1E1kKrH). Recently, I was teaching my grade eights persuasive writing, and I asked them to consider the kind of conversation they would have if they were trying to convince a parent to let them do something. Then I asked them to envision a similar conversation where they were trying to convince a friend to do something. In the past, I have had students write the two different dialogues to see if they caught the idea of choosing suitable language, persuasive tactics, etc. to match their audiences. The writing was generally okay, but nothing exceptional.

    However, this year I let students write the two different conversations using text messages; everything I wanted was there, and the writing was very entertaining and more realistic. Student’s changed their vocabulary, grammar, and even punctuation (if they used any at all) to suit their target audience; yet it was their use of emojis, emoticons, gifs, etc. that really, visually, enabled the students to express themselves. These also leveled the field for EAL students who find it more difficult to effectively communicate strictly in writing.

    As an English writing teacher, I have had many fretful conversations about texting language entering into formal writing (essays, etc.), and I do get annoyed when I can’t figure out the short forms students use when writing emails to me (with no capitalization or punctuation to boot). In short, I worry that we are indeed returning to caveman communication. However, there are some positive attributes of this in the hands of digital natives that I am beginning to appreciate. It allows students to create writing that is somewhat less yet arguably more than traditional writing.


    1. Hi Greg,
      Many thanks for your comments.
      What a fantastic idea using text messages to allow the children in your class to show their learning. I really think it is using the children’s intrests and knowledge to show what they know. It is interesting that children are more motivated to work in such a way.
      I have recently started to use emojis ( and QR codes) in my classroom of 6-7 years old. The children scan how they are feeling which gives me a visual representation of what’s happening in the classroom – I use this at the start of the day and some other times.
      I do not think that going back to “caveman communication” is necessarily a bad thing at all. In fact I think that in some ways it is helping and quickening up our ability to communicate effectively and quickly.
      I am also left thinking about my blog and how i write. I think I generally write in a less formal way than I would write a formal essay. For me this is a lot more enjoyable to write than a formal essay too. Would I enjoy this as much of there were more constraints on my writing on this blog?
      Thanks for your comments Greg. It has got me thinking furhrer about “caveman communication”.
      Cheers Joel


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