Saturday, 10 March 2012

Digital Storytelling {Zooburst}

My third exploration in the world of digital storytelling was with Zooburst. 

There are a number of uses for Zooburst. It can be used to publish a picture book or it can be a way to present the findings in a research project. Zooburst is original in that it's got the virtual pop-up element to it. But, it also has another really cool feature: "augmented reality" or 3-D. To view the book in this option you need a web cam. Click on Webcam Mode.

When this box pops up, click on "allow".

On the left, you will see these instructions. Click on the image and print it on a standard sheet of paper.
Place the printed image in front of your webcam and the book will now be in 3-D. There will also be the option of turning the pages by moving your hand in front of the camera. What a fun idea! Try it out yourself with this book that I put together with the help of my 10 year old son.

Creating this story was easy. Since Zooburst has a pretty good selection of clip art, students could take a story that they have already written and illustrate it in this pop-up book format. They might have to change their story a little if exact pictures are not available. But, working on the story in this way would allow the students to create something with substance before they start "clicking" around on the site. I find that working with digital storytelling applications can be distracting for the students, so if you want to have quality writing, it is important to have the bulk of the story written before you put it together on Zooburst.

The Basic Account, which is free, allows you to make ten books, 10 pages each in length. If you upgrade to the Premium Account for $49.99/year you can have 250 student accounts for an unlimited number of 50 page books. The Premium Account also gives you the following classroom management features:

Since I did not sign up for the Premium account, I was not able to access these features, but I can see how this would be the only way to go, since we always have more than 10 students in a class ;)!!  The 3-D viewing feature would most likely have to accessed at home. Although, I'm sure some classes have webcams on a classroom computer and could therefore have the class view the projects together in this way.

I can see myself using this tool in my grade 4 class for a creative writing assignment, but I can also see myself using it in my capacity as teacher-librarian as a way to present research projects. I think that it is good value at $49.00/year for 250 students.

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