Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Edgar, Not Allan Poe, But A Storytelling Tool

Late last month Heather Moorefield-Lang, Education Librarian at Virginia Tech and current chairperson of the American Association of School Librarians Best Websites for Teaching & Learning committee sent out a tweet about a digital storytelling tool.  The name looked familiar to me.  I did some searching and found it was listed by Joyce Valenza, teacher librarian and blogger at NeverEnding Search, on a Digital Storytelling Tools wiki she had created.

Edgar states on their home page:

...a beautiful lightweight tool for creating digital stories. 
Use your instagrams, tweets or upload
your home photos and videos.  ...

Across the bottom of the first screen you can see a navigation bar.  From left to right you can view features stories, learn about Edgar, meet the development team, provide a way to stay in contact with the site's news, read the latest news on their Tumblr, join, sign in and tell a story.  When you mouse over the blue Tell A Story button another image appears on the screen.  This application is very user friendly.

Upon selecting the Tell A Story button you are asked to log in or sign up.  If you choose, you can log in using your Facebook account.  After clicking the Sign Up button when you have entered in your name, email address and password, you are immediately sent an account activation email.

Upon logging, in the next screen offers a series of options.  From the top to bottom on the left-hand side using the tool bar you can, go back to the feature stories, view your stories or sign out, search for stories by keyword, view all the stories or by one of the seven categories, and view stories grouped by projects.  The final two icons, gray in color, were inoperable (at this time). When I selected the about at the bottom it took me back to the home page.

When selecting the small blue button in the upper right hand corner, Tell A Story, a new window opens.
You can give your story a title and start to add pictures.  Simply click on the title bar to add text.  Choose the plus sign on the image to upload a picture from your computer.  If you mouse over an added photo, a trash can appears so it can be instantly deleted.

At any time during the creation of your story you can edit by choosing the small button in the lower left-hand corner representing a page. If you select the plus sign to the right, it takes you to the next page.  Also after adding an image and text, you can choose to publish or add a page by selecting either of the available buttons to the right of the image.  When finished, choose Publish.

You are invited to place your story in one of the seven categories, add an optional custom tag and assign a geographical place to your story.  When this is completed, click Publish again.  Your story loads taking you to another screen.  At this screen the title is displayed in the upper left-hand corner.  Along the bottom you can move through the pages by selecting the small circles.  

In the upper right-hand corner is a series of icons.  The first, on the left, when selected shows the title of the story and the text for that particular page. (The text for any given page appears as soon as the page is loaded then fades so the image can be seen fully.) If you like the story, click on the heart icon.  The three arrows represent sharing options, like on Facebook, tweet on Twitter, get a URL link or HTML code for embedding on a blog or website.  Choosing the "x" takes you back to the first Tell A Story window. 

Now when you click on Me, your story is shown.  When you mouse over it, you have the choice to edit or view it.  You can also see how many times it has been viewed or liked.

Here is the link to my story, Year of the Big Snow, in case the embedded version below does not appear on your screen.

I did not locate any terms of service or privacy policy on the site but due to the need for giving an email address, I would advise using this with older students.  This application (to the best of my knowledge) is not even a year old yet.  It was originally designed for users to showcase their creations.  I did scroll through some of the stories looking for any material not appropriate for use in the classroom and did not see any at this time.

I found generating a story so easy, I would not hesitate to recommend this for use in the classroom. It could be used to document a special event, a daily activity, or as Edgar says simply...Tell A Story.  I invite you to give it a try.  Once you have a story in mind with images to match, the story is ready in minutes.  

Here is a link to a very fine site, Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling. 

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