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Digital Storytelling: Using Visual Poet

by Margaret A Powers, MA

What is digital story telling, and how can this be an effective tool to add to your tool box? Telling stories is how we share our history, our ideas, or vision for the future. Digital story telling allows us to use digital forms such as video and pictures to relay a story that appeals to our visual sensory of learning.  I have been participating in an educational technology and media massive open online course (ETMOOC). I will be sharing several of the assignments we have completed in order to give you some idea on the various ways visual tools and applications can be used to tell a story.

Storytelling is something that human beings have been doing for hundreds of thousands of years. It is a natural way for us to communicate. Nowadays, we keep hearing the term “digital storytelling”, which can sound confusing. But the important part of the term is “storytelling”—the digital piece really mostly means that the story is either created or accessible via digital technologies. Because of that, digital stories can be easily commented upon, shared, and remixed using the participatory strategies you’ve been practicing already in #etmooc.  Read More from ETMOCC

After experimenting with the 5 Card Flickr Story, I wanted to try another medium that would allow me to more easily integrate text and images. I was reminded of a free app I had downloaded quite a while ago but never fully explored: Visual Poet. This app lets you choose three images from Flickr, Google, Tumblr or your own photo library. Once you select an image, you can decide what portion you want to include in your story and then you can tap and add text on top of the image. You can then add a title, auto-insert credits for the photos you use, and add some comments about your story. From the app you can publish directly to Tumblr or you can email the story. The app hasn’t received very good reviews so I’m not sure if it works well on every device but I didn’t have any problems when creating I tested two different ways of using the app. First, similar to the 5 Card Flickr Story, I made a story with the first images that came up when I searched for images. This required some spontaneity and creativity but less reflection.

Then, I tried creating a story with more purpose and forethought. I searched specifically for images relating to ed tech to start my story and then for images that matched ideas relating to where I wanted my story to go (e.g., possibilities, perspective). I consciously sculpted my story, searching for images that I felt could convey the concepts I was looking for without narrowing my search by topic (I used the “Today’s Interesting Photos” option in the Flickr search). This broadened my photo selection to images that I might not have considered otherwise and prompted me to progress down new paths as I developed my story. At first, I imagined my story ending with something about collaboration or sharing but when I saw the camera image, I loved the idea of saying something about the importance of perspective. And so I ended up with a story about ed tech, one that I had a fuzzy idea of when I began and a different understand of when I finished.

Anything is Possible

Photo Attribution:
Original imagery for panel one by Anonymous/Unknown
Original imagery for panel two by Neighya (Elné)
Original imagery for panel three by danska8

Has anyone else used Visual Poet for digital storytelling? What do you think of this method/medium? 

Digital Storytelling photo credit: carlaarena via photopin cc

Written by Margaret Powers

Margaret Powers is a Technology Coordinator working with students and teachers in Pre-K through 2nd Grade and a Technology and Education Consultant specializing in social media, early childhood, and global education. She has a master’s in International Training and Education from American University and a B.A. in Psychology from Bryn Mawr College.

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