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Narrable in the Classroom: Four Fun Ideas

The Narrable application allows users to easily create narrated slideshows. For educators who don’t have access to standard video editing software, this is a great resource across multiple subjects for most grade levels. While the site has varied price points for both the general public and educators, it’s free for teachers to create unlimited projects.

The first 60 days of a classroom account are also free on a trial basis, which includes secure student logins, admin tools for managing accounts, tools for collaboration, and even phone support. State licenses are available.

Creating a slideshow with audio is easy on Narrable. Simply upload some images to start. Users can record audio for their slides through their computer’s internal microphone or—for higher quality—an external mic. Upload other audio, such as music, to create more sophisticated projects. Narrable slideshows are also easy to share through Facebook, email and embed codes. 

Here are four ideas for implementing this cool tool in the classroom:

Make a Motion Comic

Have students create comics on their computers or mobile devices. Then they can use PicMonkey or other photo-editing software to add text bubbles and text to the images. Afterwards, students can narrate their stories, incorporating voice acting and even effects, music and other elements to enhance the dramatic pacing via audio. Make sure stories include is a character-development element, such as a hero needing to overcome a personal obstacle in order to resolve his/her central conflict.

Highlight History’s Forgotten Stories

Students can easily search through public domain images in Flickr’s Creative Commons section. Have students search for a topic related to a history unit you’re covering in class. For instance, if you search the U.S. Civil War, high-resolution images of historic artifacts, sites, people, monuments and more will come up. Ask students to use online sources and narration to paint a realistic picture of the life of a participant in an historical event or period (e.g., Abraham Lincoln). For an added challenge, ask students to depict their characters through voice acting.

Enter Arguments

Do any of your students have a knack for debate? Get the courtroom going by focusing on a social, environmental or economic issue and having students work in two groups to make a case for one of two opposing sides. For instance, present the issue of energy production and environmental repercussions, and ask both sides to develop a slideshow outlining a socially palatable solution to a complex issue like regulation of offshore drilling. (Some initial student research will probably be necessary.) The teacher can then act as judge to “rule” on the case. Or, if you’d like to mix diplomacy into the lesson, draw a Venn diagram on a whiteboard and map elements of each group’s argument. Then, as a class, engage in a process of compromise and create a single slideshow documenting the diplomatic solution. Kids can use an endless number of public domain images to add a visual element to their projects.

Start a Think Tank

Continuing the theme of social, environmental and economic issues, students can form a class “think tank” in which they make a presentation that addresses a real-world problem. Have your class split off into small groups to research a challenging cause and identify potential solutions. Then, using pictures that are either public domain or free-to-use with credit/attribution, students can make narrated slideshows to illustrate their ideas. 


Related resources

Animoto in the Classroom: Activity Ideas
Using Wikis in the Classroom
Event-Coverage Tech: Classroom Ideas
Real-Time Chat Tool: Student Activity Ideas


Article by Jason Cunningham, EducationWorld Social Media Editor
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