A picture is worth a thousand words, so what’s a picture with words attached worth? How about if we add music?
If you haven’t yet played with Photostory, run right over and get it. Yes, it’s from evil giant Microsoft and it won’t run on your Mac (but you have iLife on your Mac, so no complaining!) but it’s easy, and it’s free. How easy? I’ve used it (with guidance) with kids in first grade. If you can browse for files, something everybody does, and have access to a computer microphone, you can use Photostory.
Basically, the program asks you to upload your pictures. Then you can add narration for each picture, add a pre-recorded audio file or some music, and save. It’s a little harder to get your video online that with Animoto (see below) but you have much, much, more control over your content, and no limits on length. Once you’ve saved your .wmv file, you can easily upload to Teacher Tube or to your own website or blog.
How could this be used? To record and share library or classroom events, to create narrated stories (just upload images of kids’ artwork instead of photos), to create slideshows without the hassle of all the “stuff” kids want to add to PowerPoints. I, for one, would like to see a student slideshow with no clipart and no flying text! With Photostory, the kids are focused on the images and the audio. Older students can add more sophisticated looking transitions, or alter the timeline to keep a particularly important image on the screen for a longer time. Titles and text can be added to any slide.
I did discover that Photostory has an annoying habit of “fading out” the last few seconds of your music or audio file, but I solved that problem by recording about 10 seconds of silence when I was done recording my voice. Worked like a charm.