Day 8 - ZohoShow for Digital Storyboarding Published 2006-12-21 under , , ,

This post is not about the educational benefits of digital storytelling. Much has been written about this by such experts in the field as Joe Lambert and Bernajean Porter. My focus is on the storyboarding process and more specifically how to record this process.

Digital Storytelling is not about the end product - the video - as much as it is about the story, the planning, and the collaboration. From a teacher's prospective, insight into the storyboarding process provides a richer assessment of the students work than the actual digital media that results from the project. From Wikipedia: "[This] process of visual thinking and planning allows a group of people to brainstorm together, placing their ideas on storyboards and then arranging the storyboards on the wall. This fosters more ideas and generates consensus inside the group."

I am a big fan of storyboarding with the following offering some ideas why.

For some, storyboarding may seem like a hassle, or a tedious extra step in the process of digital storytelling. This is not true. Storyboarding is a valuable step in digital storytelling. It allows the user to organize images, text, motion, interviews, and music before they begin making their digital story. It allows the user to visualize how the story will be put together and what holes exist so that they can be filled. Storyboarding also inspires new ideas for the user’s digital story because the user sees all of the pieces of the story laid out in front of them.
From "Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling"

There are many ways to produce a storyboard online. One option would to use a service like Google Docs and put the storyboard in a word processing like document. Another idea is to use a wiki putting each cell of the storyboard in a separate page.

Zoho ShowI would like to suggest trying ZohoShow, an online presentation creating service where you can create, share, view, and publish PowerPoint like presentations. As with the other solutions that I have mentioned, your work is stored online making it available to everyone in the group wherever there is an Internet connection. With ZohoShow, it is very easy to create storyboard cells with the requisite information. Like PowerPoint, ZohoShow allows you to create slides from a template but you can always add additional elements like text blocks, images, or graphical symbols. The information that you require your students to include in each cell (slide) of their storyboard will vary but it will probably include the narration, description of the image, animation, and audio effects.

What I like most about using a presentation type of approach to storyboarding is the ease by which you can move cells around in the story as well as move elements within a cell around. The drag-and-drop approach provides an intuitive (as well as easy) way of reorganizing your story.

The biggest drawbacks to ZohoShow are lack of an RSS feed, versioning, and concurrent editing. As I will explore tomorrow, RSS feeds help teachers keep track of work being done on a project. By not saving versions of the storyboard (presentation), ZohoShow makes it difficult to see just how the board was developed and who did what. Finally, ZohoShow does not allow multiple users to work on a presentation at the same time, though might not be a critical issue. (Writeboard does not offer concurrent editing but I have found it to be one of my most valuable tools for collaboration.)

ZohoShow is still in beta, so who knows what features will be available in the future. For simple presentations (and storyboards) it works well. It does not have all of the bells and whistles of PowerPoint, but I see that as a plus, after-all we want our students to focus on the storyboard and not the page transition effects.

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Anonymous said...

You can find a nice storyboard tool designed for students at

Was made just for educators.