I don’t know about you but I use maps all the time. Mainly because my sense of direction is not so great. When I travel I grab a map (not a fancy one just a cheesy one from the hotel or something) for the place I visited and hold on to it as a souvenir. Meanwhile I have had friends attach pictures to wall maps as a reminder of places they have been to while some use push pins. Now with foursquare and the maps on Facebook you can now follow where all of your friends are or have been. Maps are not only a way to tell you where you are going, but it is a great tool to show where you have been; or where someone else has been. What am I getting at with all of this rambling. Well, lets see Napoleon was a great military leader, and who traveled all over Europe and into Russia winning and in some cases losing battles. Wouldn’t it be more interesting to learn about his travels and conquests or defeats by examining them on a map with text summarizing the major events over reading straight from the textbook? How much more interesting would a presentation be for the students to give if they had the opportunity to use a map to describe historical and even literary events. Think about it, even family trips/vacations can be even more fun when using a map to show all of the places you have been.
Well if this has peaked your interest why not try the website MAPTALES www. maptal.es MAPTALES is site that allows you to create map-based stories and share them with groups through emails, embedding into websites, blogs, etc. You can use MAPTALES to chronicle news events, describe a trip, its great for scrapbooking and lectures. Maps tell us their own stories but it is up to the users to embellish on those stories with our own personal flair.
Digital storytelling is great way to have students get creative in with their writing. It assists those who work better using visual prompts to help spark their writing, and it aides in progression of a student’s story. It is not only used for fiction writing though, more often than not teachers are seeing digital storytelling used in projects for science, and history.
A prime example was I had a student who was doing to report on Ellis Island. He wrote his report through the eyes of an immigrant coming through, and used a digital storytelling site to show the journey his character took, all the while using factual information to explain the history of Ellis Island.
There are many sites out there, and I have mentioned a few, but one that should be recognized is Kerpoof. Kerpoof is an Award Winning site that is sponsored by Disney and was developed for the purpose providing a creative outlet for children and adults. However, the educational world saw how this site can foster the creative process for students for a variety of projects. Kerpoof can be used to design your own artwork; make an animated movie (it’s very easy); create a book to tell a story; and print cards, t-shirts, and other products.
Teachers will find this site fun to use for students of all ages and for all subjects. Use as a story starter; test reading comprehension; biology lessons; and even use for biography projects. This site is free to use but some elements require payment. Students can also earn Koins that will allow them to purchase items at the Kerpoof store (don’t worry all items are for use in future projects and are not physical items). Check out today and see how you might be able to use in your own classroom or just your home.
Photo collages bring fun an whimsy to standard pictures. It allows you interject your personality through fun boarders, backgrounds, and text, all the while using the pictures to tell the story. We as educators always suggest that when students are creating projects to use images to help liven up the project, but to also help in explain the theme and in some cases speak for us. But a majority of the time the images are regiment, the same size, facing the same way, looking very text-booky. There is no sense of the student anywhere. Well now there is an app that currently is being used for personal and social use, but it is available for so much more.
Pic Collage is a free App for iPhones and iPads with a version available for the android through GooglePlay. This app promotes itself as being the “canvas for your life,” when in actuality in can be the canvas for math, science and history as well. The easy to use tools allow for any student or teacher to create a visually engaging project that will capture the attention of all viewers.
Examples of projects can be:
Science– using pictures to explain the difference between the earth before and after certain eras; show how the environment has been effected by global warming; show the life cycle of an animal.
History– create a collage representing major events from World War II; show the life of a president.
There are a ton of possibilities for this App. Pic Collage allows the user to take pictures using their mobile device, upload from their library, or choose images from the web. Adjust the background, change boarders, add text, and even add stickers for added personality (some extra icons must be purchased with the lowest going for $1.99). Once completed save to your account, or share with friends, family or classmates by uploading to Facebook, Twitter, or a blog of your choice, you can even email the finished collage to any email address. Try it out if even just for you own personal use, but I promise you will see the possibility for school use as well. Check out the website below for more information or look for in the Apps store.