Millsaps College
Digital Storytelling - Getting Started

Getting Started

  • Getting Started
    A step-by-step approach to getting started creating your digital story. From the University of Houston.
  • Storyboarding "Storyboards are visual representations that aid in the the creation process of digital storytelling. Storyboards lay out images in sequential order to create the the flow of the production." From the University of Houston
    Examples and Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling– from the University of Houston
  • Digital Storytelling Checklist – a MS Word document
  • Assessment Rubric for Digital Storytelling Project - a MS Word document
  • Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling - The primary goal of the Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling website is to serve as a useful resource for educators and students who are interested in how digital storytelling can be integrated into a variety of educational activities.
  • Stony Brook Universities guide to Digital Storytelling - includes a list of copyright friendly sites to obtain Image and Audio files
Digital Storytelling Tools
Software recommendations from the Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling website:

Windows Movie Maker 

(PC only) Available on all Library Computers
Windows Movie Maker is a video editing software application that has been included as part of the Windows operating system since 2000. This program has suffered poor reviews by users for many years because it lacked sophisticated features, but more recently, the program's capabilities and reputation have improved and many educators use it because it is readily available and generally supported by school technology services. A limitation of Movie Maker is that it only outputs files in the AVI and WMV formats.
Help guide:

Creating a Digital Story with Movie Maker

New to Windows Movie Maker? Check out the tutorials below to help make your first project go smoothly.

If you have Windows 7 on your laptop or home computer  - you can follow the tutorials here

Apple iMovie '11

(Mac only) Available in the Library DML
iMovie is Apple's answer to Photo Story and is a good choice for for Mac users who want to create digital stories. This digital movie creation and editing program has most of the same features as Photo Story, however, it also supports the use of full-motion video clips. Like Photo Story 3, iMovie lets users add titles, effects, and transitions to their digital story projects. And like Photo Story, iMovie has some limitations too, including: it generally just supports video clips in the .MOV format, and it is not free, although it often comes installed on new Macintosh computers.

To make the most of iMovie we recommend enabling the advanced tools. To do this, click on the iMovie menu and select Preferences. Under the General tab make sure that "Show Advanced Tools" is checked.

Creating a Digital Story using iMovie:

Help / Tutorials for iMovie

Premiere Elements

Available in Library DML
Premiere Elments 11

Premiere Elements video editing software from Adobe is a scaled-down version of the more expensive and more feature-filled Adobe Premiere, a a software application that is used by many digital video professionals. The Elements version of the program is filled with just about all of the features that digital storytellers could want, however, be aware that the learning curve for Premiere Elements can be greater than for many of the other applications that can be used to create digital stories. Premiere Elements is not free, although it often comes with the purchase of some digital video camcorders and discount pricing is available for students, teachers and staff at educational institutions through Adobe's online education store and other software resellers.

In addition, Adobe Premiere Elements and Adobe Photoshop Elements are often available in a packaged bundle at a discounted price that is less expensive than purchasing the two programs separately.


Microsoft Photo Story 3

(PC only, not on library comptuers, but is a free download to personal computers)
The software uses digital photos and allows adding narration, effects, transitions and background music to create a Windows Media Video movie file with pan and zoom effects. Once a photo story has been exported it can be played on a PC using Windows Media Player. Please note that Photo Story 3 only supports the use of still images, so you will need to use a different software program, such as Windows Movie Maker, if you want to include video clips in your digital stories.
Help guides:


A completely online tool that makes it possible to quickly create a video using still images, music, video clips, and text. If you can make a slideshow presentation, you can make a video using Animoto. Animoto provides a large library of free music and free images that you can use in your videos. Animoto also provides a nice selection of video player themes for different occasions. You can add music or voice narration in MP3 format, but not both at the same time.  Animoto videos are easily embedded into blogs, wikis, and websites. Animoto's free service limits you to 30 second videos. You can create longer videos for free if you apply for an education account. Education accounts also allow to manage student accounts.
Help guide:




There may be times when you creating digital media projects that you will want to record basic narration, edit audio to adjust the volume, remove unwanted sounds, fade audio in or out, etc. In addition, you may want to mix different audio tracks together, such as a recorded narration with background music. Programs such as Photo Story have very basic audio recording capabilities, so you may want to use a digital audio editing program, such as Audacity, GarageBand, or Adobe Audition.

There are many different software programs that allow you to connect a microphone to your computer and record narration. After that's done, you can also use the program to edit and mix files together. A good choice for beginners is Audacity, which is a free audio recording and editing program that is available for both PCs and Macs.


Animated Videos

  1. Xtranormal is a popular Web 2.0 tool that lets users create animated movies with multiple characters and locations. One of Xtranormal's most interesting features is that you can type what you want each character to say and that text will be turned into synthesized speech that can be heard through your computer's speakers.
Find Public Domain / Creative Commons Images

Find images with Creative Commons licenses or are available in the public domain.

You can search for Creative Commons media through the You can also use for finding CC-licensed images in Flickr.

Google Advanced Image Search
- set usage rights filter to Free to use, share or modify
The usage rights filter on the Advanced Search page shows you pages that are either labeled with a Creative Commons license or labeled as being in the public domain. Here are the different usage rights options available: Free to use or share - Your results will only include pages that are either labeled as public domain or carry a license that allows you to copy or redistribute its content, as long as the content remains unchanged. Free to use, share, or modify - Your results will only include pages that are labeled with a license that allows you to copy, modify, or redistribute in ways specified in the license

Advanced Search - Flickr
Many Flickr users have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license, and you can browse or search through content under each type of license.

The Morgue File photo collection
Contains thousands of images that anyone can use for free in academic or commercial presentations. The image collection can be searched by subject category, image size, color, or rating.

US Governement Photos & Images
photos and images by topic. Some of these photos and images are in the public domain and may be used and reproduced without permission or fee; however, some photos and images may be protected by license

Wikimedia Commons - a database of 14,691,178 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute.

Stony Brook Universities guide to Digital Storytelling - includes a list of copyright friendly sites to obtain Image and Audio files

Find Public Domain / Creative Commons Audio
The Free Music Archive provides free, high-quality, music in a wide range of genres. The content on Free Music Archive is used under various creative commons licenses. Anyone can download music from FMA for use in podcasts and videos.

Sound Bible is a resource for finding and downloading free sound clips, sound effects, and sound bites. All of the sounds on Sound Bible are either public domain or labeled with a Creative Commons license. You can find sounds for use in podcasts, videos, and slideshows.

Jamendo is a source of free and legal music downloads. The music on Jamendo comes from the artists who upload it themselves. While not all of the music is licensed for
re-use, there is a substantial collection of music labeled with a Creative Commons license. Go to the advanced search and filter by license.

Additional Tools for the Digital Humanities
Bamboo DiRT is a tool, service, and collection registry of digital research tools for scholarly use. Developed by Project Bamboo, Bamboo DiRT makes it easy for digital humanists and others conducting digital research to find and compare resources ranging from content management systems to music OCR, statistical analysis packages to mindmapping software.
Omeka is a free, flexible, and open source web-publishing platform for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions. Its “five-minute setup” makes launching an online exhibition as easy as launching a blog.
Neatline allows scholars, students, and curators to tell stories with maps and timelines. As a suite of add-on tools for Omeka, it opens new possibilities for hand-crafted, interactive spatial and temporal interpretation.
Historypin is an online, user-generated archive of historical photos and personal recollections. Users are able to use the location and date of an image to "pin" it to Google Maps. Where Google Street View is available, users can overlay the historical photograph and compare it with the contemporary location.