Literacy tools support reading and writing skills. They can be used by the teacher or by students, depending on goals set for them. Digital storytelling tools are popular; however, students can also practice reading and writing using blogs, wikis, and notebooks. The digital storytelling tools provide avenues for reading and writing practice. Some of them permit integration of speaking and listening. They can also be used to support vocabulary study.
Storybird is a book-authoring tool for creating art-inspired virtual books. Storybird can be used for creating, sharing, and reading stories. It is specifically created so that children under 13 may register as users. Teachers can create a class account where they may create assignments and reading lists for students. Students can be added to the class without a need for student email account or invited to join the class if they already have a Storybird account. The stories have an age range description to help find ones for a particular audience. Creating Storybirds is simple with drag and drop design and ability to write wherever on the page. It is possible to invite collaborators, with an ability to send the invite to a guardian to approve. The fact that the illustrations are already provided can work as a source of inspiration for the writing process.
Photo Peach is a digital storytelling tool with photos, music, and transitions. Users upload images from Facebook, Picasa, or their computer, add music from a library of choices or YouTube, and share their creations by email, instant messaging, Facebook, or by embedding them into websites or blogs. Thus, teachers could use it to create a slideshow of, for example, science terminology complete with images and auditory description. Additionally they can use the same images to generate a multiple-choice quiz to help students practice visual identification and memorization. Account holders can choose to follow their friends’ accounts to see what they have created. Persons under 13 are permitted to use Photo Peach once they have a parent or a guardian review and complete the registration process.
Little Bird Tales is digital storytelling specially created for 3-14 year old users and their parents. Teachers can create a teacher account. Upload, draw, or record images with the webcam and record the story in your own voice. My Tales, the created content, can be made public or private. The public tales are moderated and can be shared with other users, or emailed to friends. There are no advertisements, no external links, and no merchandising. My Tales can be viewed, sent, edited, and managed any time.
The ability to use personal illustrations and your own voice with a personal story in a tool intended for minors makes this tool shine. The ability to record provides a nice feature for editing and revising, as students are able to hear differences between what they wrote and what they thought they wrote.
Bookr is a simple photo book creation project. Users create and share photo books using Flickr images with Creative Commons licenses, whether they are personal ones or taken by others. The process for creating a book is easy, requiring no additional support. The tool is available as is without registration and the created books are archived publicly. Bookr provides an easy way to include visual support to the writing process, whether one is creating a picture story book or ABC book.
PicLits is a creative writing site that provides picture prompts with carefully selected keywords in order to inspire the writer. The object is to put the right words in the right place and right order to capture the essence, story, and meaning of the picture. It appears to be an interesting way of encouraging users to start writing. They can choose to write freestyle or utilize the drag-and-drop feature with already selected and categorized vocabulary that can be used to share a thought. A drop-down menu reveals options for editing each word that is dragged to the image from capitalization, verb tense, and so on. With nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs conveniently listed, it may also encourage language learners to experiment with a different word they would typically choose.
Fotobabble enables photo narration with your own voice. Describe your favorite image in your own words in 60 seconds or less. Upload images from a computer, access photos from Facebook, or use a URL link to an image you want to use. The tool has an easy step-by-step process; unfortunately, no one under the age 13 can create a personal account.
Nevertheless, Fotobabble appears to be a good alternative for creating an audio picture story. A group or the whole class could also use Fotobabble with their teacher to create, for example, a personalized message to a thank you card.
PhotoSnack is a professional photo slideshow creator. PhotoSnack has a variety of templates to choose from that can be used to create photo albums, presentations, portfolios, slideshows, and blog widgets. All slideshows can be edited and published as many times as needed. Users can also add an audio file (max. 20MB) to accompany, however, the tool does not have audio recording capability. The photo information is revealed to viewers by moving the mouse cursor over the image. PhotoSnack provides another option for teachers who want to embed presentations in their blogs.
Glogster Edu platform for K-12 education appears to be popular for creating interactive online posters or web pages with multimedia elements. The multimedia features that can be added on the posters include photos, images, data, drawings, audio, and video.
Cartoonist is a creativity tool for composing multimedia stories: comic strips or digital narratives. The stories consist of already created themes with professional backgrounds, characters, props, images, and text. Alternatively, photographs may be used as the background. Cartoonist is part of the Creaza suite of web-based creativity tools. With its limited demo version, users cannot access all the features: however, they do have a few themes to start with.