Recently, I gave a presentation to a colleague’s class about digital storytelling. Dr. Rick Kerper is a children’s literature expert and he and I have been collaborating on different digital storytelling projects over the last few years. This summer, the Middle School Journal even published an article about one of our projects. The article discusses how digital storytelling can be a vital instructional tool to help reach middle school students and we featured a recent Millersville graduate who is creating YouTube videos to teach mathematics through short amusing stories.
When I speak to classes about digital storytelling, I try to focus more on the storytelling aspect than the digital component. I usually provide an overview of the elements of digital storytelling and walk students through the basic process of creating a digital story. I discuss making a script and a storyboard and avoid introducing software at all. This is an overt decision on my part. I’d rather have strong stories that lack technical pop than some flashy production that lacks a good story. If you want an overview of the presentation, you can check out my blog post from a few years ago.
Near the end of my presentation to Rick’s class, one of Rick’s students asked if he could make a digital story on his iPad. I explained that he needs to check out iMovie for iPad and that it would be perfect for digital storytelling. Coming in at $4.99, iMovie for iPad (and the iPhone) is a tremendous bargain. It’s a powerful tool that allows users to capture, edit and produce videos all from a single device (an iPad 2). With iMovie for iPad, users can add basic transitions, music and titles and then share their production through YouTube if they choose. Some users, however, may miss the bells and whistles that are available in other video editing applications. I actually find that iMovie for iPad provides all of the tools you need to make a strong digital story, without giving you tons of effects that could distract the viewer from your story. I don’t miss the lack of a starburst effect or the spiral transition. Much like the annoying effects in PowerPoint, I find some of the traditional video editing effects and transitions to be quite annoying. With iMovie for iPad, the story takes center stage, which is exactly where it should be.
To see iMovie for iPad in action, be sure to check out this tutorial: