8 Digital Storytelling Apps for the iPad

Digital storytelling is a powerful tool to use in all grade levels and content areas in a 1:1 classroom. As the term indicates, digital storytelling is essentially telling a story through the use of digital tools. While video and audio are obvious examples, interactive timelines, ebooks, and maps may also fall under the umbrella of digital storytelling. The added bonus of digital storytelling is that it’s fun! While it’s not highlighted on the list below, the video at the bottom of this post was created by app smashing Tellagami and iMovie. Stay tuned for future posts from the Help Desk on how you can combine two or more apps to create a unique digital product and offer students the ultimate 21st century learning experience! We will also be providing walk throughs of each of the apps we’ve introduced so you can learn each of them at your own pace.

Storytelling With a Purpose

There are dozens of free and high quality digital storytelling apps students can choose from to demonstrate their understanding of a topic in a creative way. Do a quick Google search of digital storytelling apps, and you may find yourself a bit overwhelmed with all of the tools that are out there (does anyone really need 30 of anything?).  Our less is more approach to technology integration here in Burlington applies to selecting digital storytelling apps as well. Below is our list of eight apps that you and your students may want to explore. We recommend picking one, become an expert using it, and then move on to the next. And it’s perfectly fine if it takes an entire semester or school year to develop that expertise. As always, the focus should be on the learning and not the technolgy. Clearly defined learning goals, aligned to curriculum standards always come first. Once the goals are established, you can then select a particular app that will allow your students to demonstrate their achievement of those goals, or give your students the freedom to make their own choice.

Book Creator:

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 7.19.19 PM


Students can become published e-book authors through using the intuitive and interactive Book Creator app. Ranked the number one book app for the iPad in over 60 countries, Book Creator is a must-try for digital storytelling in the classroom. Students can customize the style, size, and layout of their book and insert images, drawings, video, narration and music. Finished books can be exported as videos and shared on the web or via email, Dropbox, or iTunes.



Explain Everything:

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 8.09.00 PMExplain Everything has consistently been a top paid app since its release. Educational institutions receive a 50% discount on Explain Everything through the App Store Volume Purchase Program. The app features an interactive whiteboard tool that you allows you to create and design slides featuring rich media content.  It is an easy-to-use design, screencasting, and interactive app that allows users to annotate, animate, narrate, import, and export a wide variety of file formats to and from almost anywhere. Last year, one of my students created “What To Do If Your Instagram Account Has Been Hacked” using Explain Everything. She exported the project to my YouTube channel and it has received over 11,000 views!


adobe voice


Adobe Voice:

Adobe Voice helps users create stunning animated videos. This app does not allow video integration, as it only involves the use of your voice, making it a great option for more introverted students. Users can chose from over 25,000 images to illustrate their ideas and tell their stories. These visuals are automatically complemented by cinematic motions and soundtracks creating a highly professional finished product. This is a powerful and intuitive tool to persuade, inform or even inspire anyone on the web.


30hands30Hands Learning: 

30hands is a great app which allows both students and teachers to easily create narrated stories or simple presentations on the iPad, iPhone or iPod. Users can easily place photos, images or video clips onto each slide and record audio to tell the story. Easy editing allows students to take learning to a higher level and creates a better final video. Finally, the story or presentation can be published to the device’s camera roll or uploaded to a 30hands cloud collaborative learning site.


iMovie: imovie

With a streamlined design and intuitive multi-touch gestures, iMovie lets you enjoy your videos and tell stories like never before. Browse your video library, share favorite moments, create beautiful movies, and watch them on all your devices in iMovie Theater. And with the iMovie extension, it’s fast and fun to make every video more memorable — right in the Photos app. Students can also make a Hollywood-style trailer and create and work with HD movies. Saved movies can be shared through YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and CNN iReport.




Animoto allows you to make fun videos with your personal collection of photos and video clips from your camera roll. Choose from a variety of sleek video styles, add music and captions, and you can share via the Messages application, email, Twitter, and Facebook. Impress the socks off your friends and family with your creation! There is also an affordable educator premium version which allows the user to create longer videos and have the ability to download them instead of hosting them on the Animoto website.



Haiku Deck:haiku deck

Haiku Deck allows users to create beautiful presentations and is a fantastic option for digital storytelling. This application puts emphasis on visuals rather than text which encourages presentation best practices. Users also have the ability to insert a variety of chart types. It offers a robust collection of Creative Commons images, with automatic sizing and attribution, plus premium stock photography from Getty Images. It is the ideal presentation app for teachers who really want to hone in on oral presentation skills. And because of the extensive collection of images, it is also a great way to introduce new material to students in a way that will grab their attention.



The Movenote app let’s you record video alongside documents or pictures to create an integrated video presentation with slides. These presentations can be shared by sending a link to the recipient and can be viewed without the app. The user first inserts images that are to be presented, then the user can record video simultaneously by swiping slides. The final product is a polished presentation that has no sync issues with the audio and visuals. This is a great app to use with foreign language classes or for teachers who wish to flip lessons.

Students and teachers are encouraged to visit the Help Desk to learn more about any of the apps mentioned above. We are eager to help you incorporate these tools into your curriculum and are available for classroom presentations to demonstrate the use of these applications.


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