Digital Storytelling & Presentation Tools

PLEASE UPDATE YOUR LINKS: This page of resources has been moved here from the Cool Tools for School workshop website. I need to revise the structure of that site and update the lessons there. But this one page has so many external links to it, I didn’t want it to disappear. I hope you’ll update any links you have to that older page with the link to this page.


Our scissors are now digital
CC by pollyalida

Our next topic is Digital Storytelling & Presentation Tools. Storytelling and presenting are really too intertwined to separate since giving an effective presentation is really all about good storytelling. This lesson will present a selection of tools to help tell stories through photos, voice, text, video and music. Use these tools to share personal stories, create more effective presentations, present assignments, creative storytelling, and so much more.

For a great introduction to why storytelling is important, check out this excellent and quick read: 6 Reasons You Should Be Doing Digital Storytelling with Your Students

HELP! There’s a lot of information on this lesson page. Don’t let it intimidate you! Look at a few examples and play with a couple of the tools. You don’t have to look at every tool and resource listed. We just wanted to provide a wide variety of resources to meet all interests.

TIP: To test out multiple tools in a hurry, gather together 5-10 of your own photos and use them over and over. That way you can focus on how the tools work, rather than worrying about the perfect photos and the perfect storyline.


Some of the more popular tools with examples and ideas that can be used at a variety of grade levels and for a range of purposes.

Visual Storytelling – Photos and Text

  • Exposure, Steller , Storehouse and Adobe Slate – These tools provide templates and design options to help you easily create beautifully laid out stories with photos and text.
    Use these for student presentations, creative writing, photo stories, newsletters and more.
  • Exposure is web-based with 3 free stories. Stellar is iOS only. Storehouse is Android and iOS. Adobe Slate works on the web and
  • Examples:
    • Rhythm Interactive by Kate Hunter includes embedded videos in Storehouse presentation.
    • BGS Teacher Talk – A newsletter created with Adobe Slate by @bgsteachbetter
    • The Garden – My test of Slate. Easy to search for photos within the tool and it automatically credits the photos at the end.

Photo Based

  • Animoto – Animoto is an easy to use tool to create photo & music video stories. This would be a fun project for an art class. Or to create a video representing how you feel about a book or movie. Upload your photos, arrange the order, select a piece of music and let Animoto do it’s magic. You’ll have a great video slide show with great transitions and effects synched to the beat of the music. 30 second videos are free. Special accounts for educators.
  • Photopeach – Similar to Animoto, upload photos, add text and music. Can also include quizzes inside the video.
  • VoiceThread – Add photos, scanned drawings. Record audio with microphone or ‘phone it in’. Others can leave comments via text and audio. Use for student book reviews with their own drawings and narration. Student created stories with photos or drawings. Narrated slide shows of community events. Book talks. (Note: VoiceThread no longer has any free options.)
    • Examples: North Platte Canteen – VoiceThread using photos, music, voice. Twilight – Carolyn Brook presents a book trailer with VoiceThread


  • HaikuDeck – Web and app presentation tool. Makes beautifully simple and effective presentation slides.
    Select images from the HaikuDeck collection or add your own.

  • bunkr – A fairly new presentation tool. Easily include content from other sources like your instagram, twitter, flickr, youtube, etc accounts. Tons of options for grabbing content from around the web. Or just use it for simple slides with your own image backgrounds and text.
  • – Upload slides, then narrate and record video of presenter. Slides and presenter appear on the screen together. Free accounts and education plans.
  • Prezi – An interesting way of creating a presentation in a somewhat non-linear way. Place text, photos, and other media on a big blank screen. Arrange in the order you want to present it and add paths to connect all the pieces. Lets you zoom in and out to put focus on different pieces of the presentation. Could be used as a mindmapping tool.
  • Microsoft Sway – Microsoft’s entry into the digital publishing/viusal storytelling realm. “Create and share interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and more.” Lots of options, a little bit daunting at first. Start from scratch or import from PowerPoint, Word or PDF. Create on the Web, Windows 10 and iOS. Probably not for elementary school students. Examples: Mt Rainier, The Universe (Condensed)

Explainer Tools


Special Purpose

A few more examples

Tools, tips and Resources


Finding Media: Searching for photos and music can take a lot of work, especially if you’re preparing an important presentation and are looking for just the right image to convey your message. Listed below are some tools to help you find media for presentations. The best way to find photos you can legally reuse, is to search for Creative Commons licensed images. Some image search tools have a way to limit your search to CC licensed content.

  • IMPORTANT: Check for licensing terms of any photo you download. You’ll need to keep track of where you got the photo to give it proper credit.

Image search tools:

  • Pixabay – My first stop for photo searching. All images are CC0 licensed, free to use.
  • PhotoPin – Very easy to use and searches a number of sources for CC licensed photos.
  • CC search – search for images, video and music from one search page. Handy!
  • Flickr advanced search – Under the “any license” dropdown, select the Creative Commons setting.
  • Copyright Friendly Images – a list of resources from Joyce Valenza
  • NYPL Public Domain Collection – Over 180,000 digitized items now in the public domain. Great resource!



This learning activity is easy, fun and very flexible!

Basic AND Advanced Activity!

  • Step 1: Pick a tool, any tool and create a short presentation, photo-video show, story, cartoon or whatever you’d like to share with us. Or pick an idea from the More Ideas list below.
  • Step 2: Write a blog post about the tools you explored, how you might use them in your library and school, share other ideas and thought.
  • Step 3: Link to your project: either post a link to your project in the blog post OR embed it in the blog post if the tool you chose has that feature available.

Don’t forget to log your blog post when you’re done! When you finish this lesson by fill out the log form. You’ll need the URL of your first blog post to complete the form.

More Ideas to Explore

  • Pick an iPad or Android presentation/storytelling app to explore.
  • Brainstorm an idea for using tools with your students.
  • Search for some lesson plans/ideas that you might use as inspiration. Discuss how you might implement them.
  • Or any other creative project that involves storytelling/presentation tools.

(update January 2016)