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DIGITAL STORYTELLING: Kizoa, Animoto, and Photo Story 3

Author(s): Kevin YEE | Jace HARGIS

Journal: The Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education
ISSN 1302-6488

Volume: 13;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 12;
Date: 2012;
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Educators know that students create better projects when they are personally invested in the material (Brookhart, Bronowicz 2003; McInerney 2008; Braxton 2008). The rewards are particularly significant when students can exercise some degree of creativity in the process of developing their projects (Su 2009). Possibly this is a result of engaging both hemispheres of the brain (Tatar 2009), or otherwise simply a reflection of the human preference to employ creativity in any endeavor, including “work” related ones.One tried-and-true avenue for creative expression is through the use of stories or narratives. Simply including a narrative component may provide enough creative ammunition for students to feel that a particular assignment can be more interesting (Clark 2010), if their work is to be wrapped around a narrative format, such as a short story in favor of an essay or formal writing. But there are numerous free technology tools available today that take the process one step further, by injecting different editing options and high-end production values. Students do not merely assemble a story in words. They can now do it primarily with images, and many of the slideshow services online allow for text captions, dynamic transitions, special effects, and relevant animations. Students become videographers and directors as much as they function as storytellers. The slideshow builders thus do a better job than “old fashioned” essay/short story assignments at meeting the need of 21st century students, many of whom arrive at institutions of higher learning with at least an already-ingrained interest in such tools, if not explicit experience.Kizoa ( offers a simple menu-driven, Flash-based interface for users to craft slideshows with uploaded images, added text, transitions, animations, special effects, and music selected from their limited online repository or uploaded in mp3 format. Users drag images and any desired effects onto a timeline at the bottom of the screen, in a workflow reminiscent of most software used to edit home movies. The service is free, but much of the content (transitions, effects) provided are classified as premium content; to actually use or share a slideshow using that content, the user would need to upgrade to a paid account. If the slideshow was built using only the free content (which is a more limited selection), the slideshow can be shared on Facebook, or a URL can be sent by email. Once on the webpage, a user will also find code for embedding the slideshow into a blog or webpage. The Flash-based product cannot be downloaded; it must be kept current at Kizoa and linked to for the intended audience to view.
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