Monday, June 23, 2014

Another Easy-to-Use Digital Story App

Take some time over your summer break to explore and have fun creating entertaining videos with Wideo.

Here's a clever one I caught created by a librarian.

Here is another example I found that was featured on the Wideo site. It addresses digital citizenship. Perhaps you can use it as a starting point for discussion with your students.

The following one was created by a graduate student at the University of Saint Joseph, CT, for a course focused on digital citizenship. She created the video to show students how quickly information circulates on social media as a lesson in digital citizenship.

The site offers some images to use, but I also found it worthwhile to upload my own photos, done easily with the Upload feature. Transitions and music can be added to finalize the video, and the final cut can be uploaded to YouTube for easily inserting the video into a blog post.

One point I would make about using Wideo is that those who create videos should be sure to include a slide with their name and other related information, so others viewing the videos will know who the creator is.  Notice in these three cases, the videos did not include this information at the Wideo site, so when the video was uploaded to YouTube to insert in a blog post, there was no way to trace back to see who created the video via the Wideo site.

On his blog, Free Technology for Teachers, Richard Byrnes has a post about the site: "Create Animated Wideo." You might want to check out the post. 

As for embedding a Wideo into a Blogger post, I found it easier to send the video to YouTube and insert the video into a post that way than to use the embed code offered at the Wideo site.

So, Wideo is another digital storytelling tool to add your toolbox. Overall, the power of digital storytelling as a learning tool cannot be underestimated. My suggestion is to become comfortable with several tools, some that work off websites, and some that work as apps on iPad or Android tablets; plus, expect to find more of these apps working right from smartphones. As we see more devices in all formats--desktops, laptops, tablets, and Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD)--as educators, we should be prepared to lead our students in discovering specific digital story tools. Digital storytelling is an excellent way to meet curricular goals as well as standards set for students as 21st century learners and digital citizens and digital learners. Numerous literacy skills are encompassed: brainstorming, organizing, scripting, visual literacy, oral literacy, communication with an audience, research and reading, and learning from digital stories that peers create on content within the curriculum. Most of all, when students create digital stories to share with others, the process empowers the students as leaders, instructors, and teachers. Plus, the students find the process engaging, hands-on, and intuitive, a way to be creative while also honing their technical skills.

Here is how the videos look if they're embedded using the site's embed code. Note the width of the video can be changed to accommodate the dimensions of a blog, website, or other digital space.