Photo Story: Book Talks and Virtual Tours

Photo Story 3 has made quite an impact on digital storytelling in the classroom. Offered as a free download from the Microsoft website, this application is surprisingly easy to use!

Photo Story is an application that allows you to import digital, still images and create a photo slideshow that you can share. So imagine this, you start off with images from your digital camera or from StreamlineSC. These images are brought into the application where you can crop or add cool effects (like “sepia” for that old-timey feeling). Each image can be edited on it’s own, allowing you to really get creative! Once you’ve finished, the final product is actually a video file that can be viewed by just about anyone.

With Photo Story, you can add your own narration to one or every image in your story, as well as use music to set the tone. The application allows you to use mp3 audio, or get around that good ‘ole copyright law and create your own music. While the music you create won’t be earning you any platinum albums, you’ll still be able to set the mood for your story.

As you edit your story, pictures are placed into a “slider” that allows you to track changes using icons, or re-arrange the order of your show. Recorded some narration for a particular picture? No worries! If you move that picture in the story, the narration and changes you made to the photo will travel with it.

One of my favorite features of Photo Story, though, is the ability to customize the motion of your pictures. Let’s say you’re telling the story of a Civil War soldier. You’ve downloaded a file from StreamlineSC that shows a group of Civil War soldiers at one of their camps. The story begins with this picture, but then zooms in tight and rests on the face of one of the soldiers in the group. You then begin to tell the story of how this young boy went off to fight in the war, highlighting the famous battles he fought in and the generals who led them. Each picture fades in and out, creating a seamless flow of images that tell a story. Pretty neat, huh? Some might even have a name for that effect (hint, hint).

Or imagine you have pictures taken from around your school. You put them together and, with the help of students from your classroom, add narration that describes each photo. You record the voices of your students to coincide with the pictures you’ve taken and – POOF! – you now have a virtual tour of your building. Can you imagine greeting a new student with an iPod and allowing them to tour the school with one of your students?

There are limitless possibilities for Photo Story in the classroom. A common use for this application in education today is a student-created book talk. Using their own artwork, students get the chance to re-tell a story. This is an excellent alternative to a book report, and presents you with the opportunity to very easily integrate technology into the classroom.

Other Photo Story examples include digital scrapbooks for an “All About Me” presentation, history report using photos of photos of key figures, science project visual for presenting findings, and… well, let us know! Please leave a comment about how you have used (or would like to use) Photo Story in your classroom or school. Got a link to one of your videos? We’d love to see it!

Related posts


  1. Jessica said:

    I love how the students improvised to create the “wardrobe” setting. Thanks for sharing the link- it’s great to see examples of how people are integrating technology in the classroom!

Comments are closed.