Friday, November 18, 2022

How to Create a Story Map

StoryMap JS is a tool that I've been using and recommending for many years. It's a free tool that students can use to create a story map in a manner similar to Google's My Maps or the old Google Tour Builder. The difference between those tools and StoryMap JS is that StoryMap JS is much easier for new users to master. 

StoryMap JS enables students to tell stories through a series of slides that appear on a map. Each slide is matched to locations that you choose on your map. Each slide in your story can include images, text, and hyperlinks.

In this short video I demonstrate how to create a story map with StoryMap JS.

Applications for Education
StoryMap JS is a great tool for students to use to map a series of events or a series of thematically connected places. In the video above I gave the example of mapping a series of roadside attractions. Some other ideas for story maps that you could have your students create include biographies, natural landmarks, notable buildings, and cultural centers.

Loom Adds New Features That Will Be Helpful to Teachers and Students

Loom is one of the tools that I regularly recommend when I'm asked to recommend a video tool for creating instructional videos. This week Loom announced two new features that could prove to be quite helpful to teachers and students. 

The first new feature to note is a floating speaker notes tool in the Loom desktop app for Windows and Mac. The speaker notes are basically sticky notes that you can use to write a script or just some talking points to use to keep you on track while recording a screencast video with Loom. You can move the notes around while recording. The best part is that while you can see your speaker notes while recording the notes aren't visible in the final recording that you save. 

The second new feature of note in Loom is the option to create and set defaults for all of the videos that you record. You can set defaults both for what appears in your videos and what viewers can do with your videos (reactions, downloads, responses). 

Applications for Education
Whenever I lead a workshop or webinar about classroom video projects I always recommend that students create a script or at least a list of talking points before recording. Doing that helps students focus on the main point(s) of their videos and it gives them something to refer to while recording. The new floating sticky notes in Loom could be very helpful to students while they are recording so that they stay on track while recording.

Setting video defaults could be a time-saver for teachers who are creating a lot of instructional videos.

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