Digital Media Converter:

The Fifty Tools

Below you will find 50+ web tools you can use to create your own web-based story. Again, the mission is not to review or try every single one (that would be madness, I know), but pick one that sounds interesting and see if you can produce something. I have used each tool to produce an example of the original Dominoe story, plus links are provided, where available, to examples by other people. Please share your own examples or thoughts in the discussion area of this wiki.

But before rummaging around the toolbox, have you done your prep work? Do you have your story idea or presentation concept outlined, developed? This should be on paper or in a document file or scribbled on the back of a napkin, but do not rely on making it up as you go! If not, go back 2 spaces and do this now. Next- do you have your media assets available, your images, video clips, audio files-- if not go find your media now.

Slideshow Tools

Generates content that allows linear playback of a series of images, some with ability to add audio. But these are primarily organized around photos or graphics.

2. ImageLoop Upload images from computer or flickr or upload PowerPoint files. Select from animated templates. Publish to blog or MySpace. RSS, comments.

3. One True Media "...effortlessly combine photos and video clips with words and music to personalize your story. Quickly share with our Online Slideshow or get as creative as you want with our Video Montage." Upload images and audio for story track. Embed in blogs or directly post to YouTube/Google video, mySpace, Google Groups. Great template choices.

4. RockYou "RockYou! creates and distributes the most popular self-expression widgets on the web" where widgets are slideshows, image effects, and more. Publishes to MySpace, Facebook, blogs.

5. Slide "Slide lets you use photos and other digital content to publish and discover the people and things that matter to you." Import from many sources, has a good library of templates, backgrounds, effects. Can add music from library but not your own audio.

6. SlideFlickr "SlideFlickr will help you create and embed Flickr slideshows in less than 10 seconds" for putting slide shows in your own site. Generate from flickr users, sets, groups, tags. Attach audio via mp3 url is a featured that goes beyond what flickr offers.

8. Slideoo Creates horizontal slide shows from flickr sets ) no text or audio. Very, very easy to use. Thanks to Tim Lauer

9. pictobrowser quickly and easily turns flickr sets, tags, or group photos into lovely embedded slide shows

11. Slideroll Create slideshows via a movie timeline- add transitions, Ken Burns like effects, titles, captions, music. Direct import photos from flickr.

12. Picasa Google's free site for storing and sharing photo serves a similar service as flickr, but it also offers the ability to create slideshows with captions, and to associate images with a location on a map.

13. PhotoPeach A very easy to use slide show maker tool. Import photos from flickr, picasa, Facebook (or upload), arrange, select music from library (or find from YouTube videos). Creates Ken Burns like pan and zoom effects. Add captions. When published, you can also post to Facebook or twitter.

14. Tikatok Designed primarily for kids, the real purpose of Tikatok is to allow children to create their own story books, which can be shared or ultimately printed as a real book. Images or drawings can be uploaded, arranged, and placed within text. The site provides as an option story prompts to help guide the process. Final products can be viewed on the site or embedded. User report of inability to save content in Firefox on Mac OSX / content lost.

15. Tar Heel Reader Developed at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, this tool allows creation of a captioned slide show for beginning readers, with features designed for accessibility (text to speech, reader selected font and background colors) and offers downloads of stories in PowerPoint, Flash, and Impress Format. Pictures can be used directly from flickr, and the tool tracks the photo credits.

Timeline Tools

The main organizing metaphor for these tools is by time/date that can explored in any order. Events are placed on a timeline, and might include text, hyperlinks, images, etc.

16. Dandelife Generate a timeline of any kind of event in your life, write as blog-like entry, apply tags, attach images, videos, bookmarks form other web service sites. Not the easiest tool to use!

17. OurStory Write a 'story' which is what happened on a date in time, add pictures, video, and OurSotry creates a timeline. Imports flickr photos.

18. xtimeline Powerful and well designed timeline. Attach images or embed media to any entry, provide source info (for historical timelines?), tags. Can import data from Excel/CSV files. Several users report uneven performance, data loss.

Mixer Tools

These may overlap with the Slideshow tools, but generally these ones offer a larger variety of media types that can be "mixed" and end products that are not necessarily linear.

19. Voice Thread Weave uploaded or flickr imported images into a media presentation with multiple voices. Record audio, video, or add text or drawn annotations. Others can add video, audio, and text comments as well. See also VoiceThread for Education wiki.

20. VUVOX "turn your photos, video and music into professional quality presentations that can be easily shared with friends and family. " search images in flickr, google, upluad youtube video, embed code (see MasterNewmedia review).

21. VUVOX Collage Collage provides a rich interface for creating highly visual presentations along scrolling horizontal strip, with imported pictures, audio, and video plus tools for creating hotspot links to web sites or to open other slideshows. Several reports of inability to save, server outages.

22. Mixercast "Create professional multimedia experiences by mixing your images, video, and sound easily with our unique templates and share across the web in one click." Powerful editing, import photos, audio, video form sites or direct upload- many templates and editing options including text overlays with hyperlinks. Can also record video from web cam.

Comic/Sketch Tools

Create your own comic strips or cartoons using imported media or available images. You might need ability to sketch, and these are generally shorter pieces, and were much more of a challenge to fit a story into.

23. gnomz This is a fairly low level tool that will not create any visual masterpieces, but there is an interesting challenge in trying to compose with a limited tool set. It creates those pixel flat icon like figures. You create a cartoon avatar, and you pull from a library of others, and enter their speech or thought bubbles, as well as select backgrounds. The site is a bit challenging to figure out since it is in French, but click the flag in the top right to toggle the site to English.

24. ComicsSketch A tool for people who can actually draw! Create all content via pen and color tools.

25. Toondoo Create your own 1, 2, or 3 panel cartoons using a library of cartoons, text bubbles. Images can be uploaded and manipulated with simple tools. Created "doos" can be combined into "ToonBooks", embedded in blogs, etc. A lot of versatility. With ToonDooSpaces organizations can create private spaces (fee-based) to manage Toondoos which may be more suitable to classrooms.

26. Kerpoof Now owned by Disney, Kerpoof is a fun to use cartoon tools with stock shapes and character bubbles, but can also be used to create movies, cards, t-shirts, and more. Check out the new site for teachers that includes lesson plans and tools for creating teacher/class accounts.
  • Dominoe (screen shots loaded into a flickr set, only way to get content out!)

27. Bubblr Pick flickr photos by tag or user name and put on a timeline, overlay bubbles with text.

28. Comiqs Turn photos, "doodles", and text into a multipane comic strip with a real comic book like style (does almost the same result as desktop ComicLife). Import photos from flickr or upload from desktop. Add bubbles, text. Status is questionable, patient has no pulse. Server errors and google search result produces blog entry from Feb 2008 apologizes for server error. -
Oct 24, 2010 1:47 pm

29. PikiStrips Make comic strips from your own photos using standard sets of frames. Apply PhotoShop like effects to images. Add speech bubbles and other "goodies" (not that 90% of the gallery seem to be dating oriented??)

30. Pixton Create simple or complex comics using characters, scenes, objects. All objects are highly editable, and characters can be moved into almost any pose. A future feature will allow animations to be created. See features and special class pricing at Pixton for Schools

Collage Tools

Less a story from point A to B, collage tools provide ways to artistically organize media around a theme, which then again, can easily be a story. Often these can handle more varieties of media, but also become more complex of an interface.

31. Tabblo an application to put together photos and words with styled templates into a visual collage, also creates slideshows, permissions for views, import form flickr, print services (posters etc)

32. Scrapblog Create multipage collections of photos (import from 5 photo sites), decoration "stickies", videos from YouTube, and publish to several blog sites.

33. Glogster Create posters with images, video, audio (uploaded or recorded) and apply a wide range of text effects- note that each one is relatively large sized (may not fit in blog page). Be sure to see Glogster/edu for education related resources and services

Map Tools

These tools are useful for stories or presentations that are tied to locations over a distance, such as a travel trip or a historical accounting. See also and Find a Story... Map a Story... Tell a Story...

34. Mapwing A tool really designed for created linked tours or annotated drawings/maps- generate a base map by importing or drawing, add nodes, each with a view looking in 4 directions, captions, link together.

35. Google My Maps Associate steps of your stories with locations on a map. Editing each one allows annotation of locations with mages (e.g. using links from flickr), and other rich text features. Now they provide cut and paste code (via the "Link to this Page") so you can embed the maps in any web page

36. Wayfaring Annotate a map with three kinds of tools- a waypoint (one that can be used in multiple maps), a note, or a path/route. The flow of the story is less apparent, unless one does it with a combination of routes to show a path.

Flickr Tools / Ideas

Not strictly a tool per se, but there are many different ways to use flickr itself as a platform for creating/sharing stories in interesting ways.

37. Flickr Tell a Story in 5 Frames "Tell a Story in 5 Frames has two important parts. The first part is creating and telling a story through visual means with only a title to help guide the interpretation. The second part is the response of the group to the visual story."

38. Flickr Six Word Story is "a photo with a Six Word Story in the title section of a Flickr photo. Be as inventive as possible. Have those few words tell the whole tale, and let the picture be its visual interpretation."

39. Flicktion Flickr+Fiction = Flicktion. Take any single image and write a short story built around that image. Save in flickr with the tag "flicktion".

40. Linking Flickr Notes Using any set of flickr photos, you can link them together via hypertext links embedded into flickr notes - the popups that appear when rolling over an image. You could weave a story together linked linearly or branching, by using these "hotspots" on images
  • Dominoe (look for "next" links in upper right)

41. Pictures with Stories Flickr Group "Your photograph must be accompanied by a story. The story must be at least five sentences long and MUST be true - no poems or fiction please. Tell us something about your photograph, why you took it, the story behind the photograph." This is a loose fit in the 50s as it is more aimed at sharing te thoughts behind a picture.

Audio Tools

There are numerous audio storage / podcast generation tools, but the ones here were selected because they offer ties to other media forms, but are built primarily around the main content as sound.

42. Podcast People This is more of a tool to create podcasts including audio, video content as well as traditional "blog" posts. It could be used to serialize a story into small segments.

43. Blabberize Rather simple and crude, but can be effective! Upload a picture of a frontal view of a face, mark the key points of the mouth, and record the audio. It creates a simple animation of the mount moving to the sound of the voice.

44. yodio Combine audio from uploaded mp3 or phoned in from phone with uploaded pictures

Video Tools

The video tools allow upload, editing, and remixing of video to create new content, playable through a web page.

45. BubblePLY Load a video form any URL (e.g. YouTube, and then annotate with text "bubbles"

47. Animoto This tool analyzes an uploaded set of images and creates a "professional" music video based on a secret artificial intelligence logic. Very easy to create elegant picture shows.

48. JayCut Powerful features! Import photos, audio, video, and make a movie on a multi-track timeline plus transitions and effects

49. xtranormal Almost in a category of it's own, this tool provides you al of the tools a movie director would have to select a set, actor sound effects, etc and create a movie made from only the dialogue text you type into the tool. Generates a movie you embed and you can then export directly to YouTube. However, you are left to work with media xtranormal provides (there is no import)

50. shwup Upload media (images and movies) or load from flickr, picassa, Facebook, any web page, even form an email message into an "album". From an album, create a slideshow or a "muviee" using a small selection of themes and music (or you cna upload music). Media can be downloaded. No ability to add captions, no ability to link directly to movie (must be invited by email or social network)

Presentation Tools

Built around a familiar desktop tools for creating slide decks, these tools offer similar features, and more, in a web interface.

51. Empressr Full featured tool with uploads for images, audio, slide controls for transitions, timing. Has built in tools to record audio or video to add to slides. Many ways to share final presentation.

52. Spresent Offers a PowerPoint like editor all in a web site. Import images (desktop, flickr), upload a PPT, movies from YouTube, audio via URL, use templates, etc. Audio can be synced to slides.

53. Slideshare / Slidecasts It's YouTube for PowerPoint. Upload Powerpoint/Keynote/PDF content and converts to Flash easily embedded in other web sites. Provide a URL for an audio track, and you can sync it to create an audio narrated "slidecast"

54. Zentation Might be called a mashup- it allows upload of Powerpoint files to Slideshare and synchronization to video uploaded to Google video.

55. Zoho Show Part of the Zoho suite of online productivity tools, Zoho Show provides a clean PowerPoint like interface for creating slide shows. Or you can directly import a PPT file (< 10 Mb) and publish without any extra work.

56. Vcasmo Synchronize a series of image slides to a video soundtrack. Import video from YouTube or upload. Includes tools to enable other language captioning and Creative Commons licenses.

57. MyPlick Upload a presentation file (PPT or PDF) and an audio file, use the sync tools, and create an audio narrated slideshow / presentation. One of the best interfaces for syncing audio to slides.

58. Google Presenter The Google Tool provides import of PPT files, and a clean editing interface. Presentations can be live shared with invited others or published.

59. WebSlides Something really different. Turn a list of web sites (bookmarked) into a nicely presented web slide show. Notes can be added, content can be tagged, and it has an audio track. I also made one that shows all the 50 Ways tools

60. Slideboom Upload powerpoint files and have animations and other effects too! Also appears to bring in audio from original powerpoints. Very easy to use.

61. SlideRocket Powerful slide show creator; imports PowerPoint, uses themes, can add builds, transitions, timer slide advances, include video, attach audio for entire presentation or per slide, flash in slides, publish as public or with password access.

62. 280 slides Online presentation tool with features similar to Keynote; can import Powerpoint, has its own themes, can publish to web or directly to Slideshare. Can add video, but not audio.

63. Prezi A most unique presentation tool that provides dramatic levels of pan, rotation, and zoom. Sequencing allows for a unique way to connect pieces of a story.

64. Ahead Very similar to prezi for being an infinte canvas, offers images, video, and audio media types, linking between scenes, and very fine grained control

In Their Own Category

65. Zooburst Create a 3D Augmented Reality book. Draw upone a large library of art or upload your own images, add captions and thought bubbles. When you view it in screen mode, and hold up a printed sheet with the Augmented Reality Marker to your web cam, the book comes alive.

If you have specific feedback, questions, or just some kibbles to share, please post your thoughts to the discussion area for this wiki page.

New Tools

Below are a few tools that came to my attention after developing the workshop, or just have not had time to Dominoe-ize, but may certainly be as viable as the ones above.

Showbeyond "a multimedia slidecast creator, online publishing platform and story sharing community." Had trouble creating account.... Thanks to Larry Ferlazoo
dipity collaborative timeline tool, works with YouTube content
capzles turn your videos, photos, blog posts, mp3s into rich multimedia timelines
TimeToast multimedia timelines
Sketchcast Record a series of drawings with or without audio, and play back as video in your web site or blog. Back from the dead.
Stupeflix Stupeflix is a REST web service that turns your pictures, videos, and text into professional videos.
Bitstrips Comic creator tool
Mashup Arts Mix flickr videos, youtube videos into multimedia greetings
MapSkip Tell stories based on place
Memmoc online animation creator with voice over
GoAnimate create cartoon-based stories
Aniboom online animation tool
Fotobabble create a "talking photo"
Jog The Web make a slideshow out of web sites
SlideSix online slideshow maker
Digital Storytelling: here's a wiki that shares a wealth of sites!


Utter the word Wikipedia in most schools and you'll be met with grumbles, won't you? Most teachers see Wikipedia---the free online encyclopedia maintained by thousands of Internet users---as the root of all digital evil! "It's unreliable!" we cry. "You can't trust the content that you find there." And while some of those arguments may be true, Wikipedia users are some of the most open content creators in the world. Wikimedia connects to a collection of images and videos posted in Wikipedia that are often copyright free---or free for use in most situations with nothing more than a citation of the original source. This site will introduce you to the Wikimedia collection, which is sorted by category and nothing short of impressive.

Like Wikimedia, Morguefile is designed as a warehouse of images that are copyright free and available to any user for any project with little restriction. The photographers who share their images in Morguefile are working to create a set of reference images on common topics for the world to use. They take great satisfaction in lowering the barrier to incorporating high quality photography into school-related projects and often only request an image citation or an email for a picture to be used. As described on Morguefile's website, "The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for use in all creative pursuits. This is the world wide web's morguefile."

Flickr Creative Commons
Flickr is another one of those websites that has probably earned its share of grumble from teachers and district technology leaders in your community, right? Chances are that it may even be blocked by your district's firewall! And while there are legitimate reasons for concern with Flickr---users can definitely find inappropriate content posted by others!---Flickr also has an absolutely INCREDIBLE collection of images that photographers have made available under "creative commons" licensing. Images found in Flickr's creative commons gallery can literally be used for almost any project that is related to education with nothing more than a credit to the original photographer. Because the quality of the images shared in Flickr are so remarkable---and the size of the Flickr CC collection is huge---this is a resource that teachers are going to want to explore when creating Voicethread presentations.

Image Codr
One of the most valuable lessons that students can learn by using digital warehouses like Flickr Creative Commons is how to give proper citations to the photographers whose images they use. Often, the importance of giving credit to photographers for images is poorly understood by children, who have grown used to Googling for images and using whatever they find.
Image Codr is a free service that can help teachers and students to act responsibly when it comes to the use of Flickr images. By coping and pasting the link to a Flickr image into Image Codr, users are automatically informed of the range of uses allowed by the original photographer and given an automatically generated Creative Commons citation for use in digital projects.

The Library of Congress Print Reading Room
Recognizing the changing nature of new media, the Library of Congress is working to make as many images as possible available to users in a digital format. This link connects to the Library of Congress's Print Reading Room, which contains almost a million digital images. What makes these images particularly valuable is that they are grouped into user-friendly categories like "People," "History," and "The Environment."


Citation Machine will produce MLA and APA formatted citations for your use. how to properly put citations in your wiki – and yes! you will need them.

Google Earth fun

Artistic Fun allows users to create magazine covers using Flickr pictures allows users to create talking pictures by selecting an image and recording their own voice-overs allows users to create their own cartoons

Video creation Quick movies with great music you can embed in your wiki makes text into a movie quick video production with images and music.

Free, Legal Music Sites This site allows you to embed music!

NASA's Image Gallery
One governmental agency that takes remarkable pictures is NASA...and we shouldn't be surprised! Heck, they've got some serious cameras in some seriously amazing places, don't they? This link connects to NASA's image gallery, which contains thousands of pictures that your children will find fascinating. With a few clicks of the mouse, you'll be able to find shots of stars, planets and space craft that will spark your imagination---and (like all images taken by government organizations), these pictures are a part of the common domain and not subject to copyright protections.

Trek Earth
As described on the Trek Earth website: "The underlying theme of TrekEarth is learning more about the world through photography. TrekEarth fosters this by allowing photographers to display their work grouped by regions in a supportive and orderly environment. This is accomplished by an easy-to-use system which encourages people to critique each other's work. Integrated with this system are forums designed to encourage discussion about specific photos, countries, and general topics."

Cagle Cartoons
One of the most interesting uses for Voicethread has been to engage students in conversations around political cartoons. The images are interesting to students---and are great ways to teach students about bias and hidden messages. This website is a terrific source of political cartoons from around the world. The images are categorized by topic and the artists are categorized by country. If you decide to work with political cartoons, consider sharing images from artists in different countries who have different perspectives about the same issue.

Digital Newspaper Formatting: