Elementary School, Middle School

5 Nice iPad Apps for Visual Storytelling

One of my favorite ways to help students start a story is by having them use visuals around which they create a story. Here are five iPad apps that students can use to do that.

Tell About This is a fantastic iPad app (free and paid versions available) through which students can quickly create short digital stories. The concept behind the app is simple and well-executed. When students open Tell About This they can pick from an assortment of pictures that contain a story starter. Students listen and or read the story prompt and reply by tapping the record button to record a short story about the picture that they see. The stories that students record can be saved to their iPads or emailed to their teachers. In addition to using the existing story prompts, Tell About This allows teachers and students to create and share their own story prompts. To create a story prompt just take a picture or import a picture from your camera roll, add some text, and record the prompt.

Storehouse is a free iPad app for visual storytelling with your pictures and video clips. The basic idea behind Storehouse is to create stories by combining images, text, and video clips on a blank canvas. To create your stories you can import pictures and video from your iPad’s camera roll, from Instagram, from Dropbox, and fromFlickr. You can arrange the sequence of the media by dragging and dropping it into place. You can add text above and below each picture or video clip in your story. Completed Storehouse stories can be shared via email, Facebook, and Twitter. Stories published through Storehouse are given their own URLs for online viewing. You can see my sample story here. Stories can also be embedded into a blog post.

Strip Designer is a slick comic strip creation tools that allows students to create comics from scratch by drawing pictures, taking pictures, or importing pictures. Students can import pictures from a variety of places including Facebook, Dropbox, and the camera roll on their iPads. Each frame in your students’ comic strips is created individually and is not tied to an overall theme. This means that one frame in their comic strips could be based on a photo and the next frame could be based on a drawing. The borders and shading effects for each frame can be individually adjusted too. To help students really tell stories through comics, Strip Designer offers a slew of text editing tools, digital stickers, and drawing tools.

Toonia Storymaker is a cute iPad app that children can use to create short illustrated stories. To create stories on Toonia Storymaker children choose pre-drawn characters and settings for their stories. The characters can be dropped into multiple settings within the same story. The appearance of the characters in Toonia Storymaker can be edited. Once a character and setting is chosen children can type their stories in the speech bubbles. When the story is complete it can be emailed to parents and teachers or simply saved in the app. Toonia Storymaker does not require children to start every story from scratch. The app offers a couple of pre-made stories that children can read and edit. Any story that a child saves on the app can be revisited and edited at anytime. In that way you could have students craft a story, email it to you, and then you can give them suggested edits for their stories. Doing that could make using Toonia Storymaker a fun way for students to develop their creative writing skills.

Little Story Maker is a great little app that adults and children can use to create their own custom books on their iPads. The app provides book templates that you complete with your own images, text, and voice narration. All of the books that you create are stored in your Little Story Maker bookshelf. To create a book in Little Story Maker start by adding a title, add a cover image by selecting from your iPad’s camera roll, then choose a template for your book. On each page you can add an image from your camera roll and type the text for your page. If you want to add narration to your book simply click the “record audio” button after typing your text. Then you can add narration that will play on the page.

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