4 Must-Have Tools for CREATING

We recently held a digital storytelling workshop. It was amazing! I will be sharing our digital stories very soon!

Let’s face it. Most of us like stories. Everyone has a story to tell and there are so many ways to tell a story. Sometimes it’s fun to imagine a story in your head. I guess that’s why it’s often difficult to put a good book down!

We also know its important to have students be innovative and creative.

Adobe_Creativity_and_Education_Why_It_Matters_infographic  82% of college educated professional surveyed by Adobe wish they had more exposure to creative thinking as students.  I could include myself in this mix. Creativity comes from the word create. So why not have students CREATE to demonstrate their understanding?  Through a mix of visuals and audio, students can easily create and share what they know.

I have 4 tools that I love to use. They are all easy and each offer a way to easily create a visual “web event” with a mix of words or even audio. Instructors can use any of these tools to introduce content to their students with a lively mix of visual, text, and audio. While I realize there are many tools out there, these are really my favorites! (not in any particular order)

1. Cowbird

I like the fact that Cowbird is simple. With it, you choose ONE visual element and add text and audio. I like that the visual is large and the “play” button for the audio is obvious. It is easy to use but there were a couple things to note. The arrows at the top left bring you to the next page – the text.  This is not as obvious to me and I feel that if people don’t understand to click it, they might miss your written content. The third page contains stories with similar tags. As an educator, I’m not really a fan of this because I don’t get to choose that content. Click below for my Cowbird that was prepared to share our upcoming mission trip:

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 3.20.33 PM

You can get a “feel” for Cowbird. It allows you to mix a picture with audio and text. When you click the sample above, you will be able to click to hear the audio, then click the arrows at the top to read the text. Please note that Cowbird does not allow you to create your audio within the program. I recorded my audio using my iPhone voice memo and it worked just fine. I just recorded the audio and emailed it to myself, then uploaded it to Cowbird. (Listen carefully and you will hear our porch wind chimes!) You will see that the second page has our text and the third page has stories that I did not choose. Perhaps if you do NOT tag your stories, there will not be any stories on the third page. I tagged mine with Mozambique. (PS on a personal note…we have 2 weeks left to raise our support. If you want to support our trip, read through page two.)

2. Tackk

I have written about Tackk before and it is probably my favorite – along with S’More. Click here to watch the demo video. I use Tackk to create visually appealing discussion board posts on Moodle. I simply create a Tackk and embed it into our discussion forum. I believe that it grabs the attention more than just putting a picture with text. They have a great tool within the product to search out amazing photos. Here is an assignment that is in a discussion forum – that is an assignment for a Tackk!

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 8.34.03 AM

I also use Tackk to introduce training sessions. Here is a Tackk I created to promote our upcoming training session on Design Thinking (sorry, open to William Jessup University staff and faculty only):

See on Tackk.com 

Since Tackk supports links, I was able to create ways for faculty and staff to RSVP for the training within Tackk using Google forms. A Tackk can be easily shared through social media, embedding (but not in WordPress), email or print.  Update!  Tackk is just simply awesome. They saw my Twitter link for this article and gave me tech support for embedding into WordPress. It works! AND they are quick with the support! Yes, I can’t say enough about Tackk!

3. S’More 

I’ve written about S’More many times as well because it is a great tool!  I used S’More to create my training email.Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 8.37.36 AM

Over 8,000 views! S’More tracks visitor clicks and RSVPs. Like Tackk, you can share the S’More via embedding, social media, email and print.  S’More allows for a few more options because you can add all of these to a S’More:

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 11.08.28 AM

4.  Adobe Voice

Simplicity is sweet. Adobe Voice is an iPad app and so easy to use. Simply add pictures and press your finger down to record the voice. It will automatically add music and formatting. I’ve used Adobe Voice to create some simple training videos introducing viewers to Moodle. Click the link above and you can see some great examples of stories created using Adobe Voice.


English:  creative writing exercise, choose a novel and give a summary or critique, choose a picture and write from a particular point of view

History:  choose a map and write a historical account, report on a particular time period or event

Art:  describe your thoughts regarding an artifact, research an artist

Bible: write about a biblical perspective concerning an event or picture…current or past

Science:   choose a picture in nature and describe what makes it interesting from a scientific standpoint

There are tons of ideas. Allow students the opportunity to create a visually appealing web event. I bet you’ll be astounded at their creativity!



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