Top Pick

Top Tools for Dynamic Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling is an engaging learning activity that helps students communicate by creating multimedia stories and presentations. Most of these apps and websites combine visual- and audio-creation elements, giving students valuable opportunities for multimodal learning. Students can assemble a collection of original or curated content, from photos, drawings, and images to audio and video clips -- in some cases, even animated text.

The thought of students' storytelling could conjure images of autobiographical presentations -- these are certainly an option. But it's also important to think beyond personal narratives to how students might share the "stories" of their learning on any topic. And, aside from student presentations, plenty of teachers are jumping on board, creating dynamic presentations as instructional tools.

Also, while great for all students -- in any subject or at any grade level -- digital storytelling activities can be especially useful for English language learners (ELLs), younger kids, or any other students who may have difficulty communicating with text or speech alone. Think of ways you can use multimedia communication to scaffold language acquisition for your ELLs or simply to give all your students a boost when it comes to their digital communication skills. Check out our editors' picks below for all your digital storytelling needs.

Kid in Story Book Maker Publisher: Locomotive Labs
Easy-to-make personalized stories can help boost social skills
Grades Pre-K-1
Type App
Price $6.99
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Tell About This Publisher: RSA Group, LLC
Photo and word prompts inspire storytelling; app records the results
Grades Pre-K-1
Type App
Price Free to Try, Paid
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Imagistory: Schools Edition - Creative Storytelling Publisher: Imagistory Publishing Ltd.
Kids use pictures to create narrative adventures in easy-to-use app
Grades Pre-K-3
Type App
Price $7.99
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Toontastic 3D Publisher: Google Inc
Flexible tool hands kids the reins for creative animated storytelling
Grades K-5
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
VoiceThread Visit Website: https://www.voicethread.com
Easily collaborate and create with voice, video, or image
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price $79/year
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Shadow Puppet Edu Publisher: Shadow Puppet Inc.
Resource-rich video slide-show creator a gem for a variety of classrooms
Grades 2-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Book Creator Publisher: Red Jumper Studio
Magically easy way to create and publish digital books and multimedia
Grades 3-8
Type App
Price $2.49-$4.99
Platforms Android, iPad
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Screencastify Visit Website: https://www.screencastify.com/
Easy screen-recording tool facilitates outside-the-box teaching
Grades 3-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Educreations Interactive Whiteboard Publisher: Educreations, Inc
Enliven lessons and presentations with easy-to-use presentation tool
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Fotobabble Publisher: Fotobabble, Inc
Talking photo-maker a powerful storytelling tool; not so private
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Office Sway Publisher: Microsoft
Cool scroll effects, flexible features boost visual storytelling tool
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Chrome, Apps for Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Sutori Visit Website: http://www.sutori.com
A slick way to share knowledge via interactive timelines and stories
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Animoto Visit Website: http://animoto.com/
Create snazzy video slide shows with simple, flexible features
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free, Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Explain Everything Classic
Powerhouse tool for creating stellar multimedia presentations
Grades 7-12
Type App
Price $7.99
Platforms Android, iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Adobe Spark Visit Website: https://spark.adobe.com
Super-flexible design tool for crafting fabulous images, videos, and sites
Grades 8-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4