Beginners Guide To: Story Creators & Creativity Tools

There are many factors that influence the technology you select to implement into a lesson. In their book titled Streamlined ID: A Practical Guide to Instructional Design, authors Larson & Lockee (2014) explain that it’s important to consider these factors early in the course of a design project so you can anticipate challenges and take advantages of opportunities (p. 184).

Image retrieved from Lifelong Readers 2.0

I’ve implemented several story creators/creativity tools such as Kahoot! and PowToon during the challenging and less lively unit ServSafe. ServSafe is a nationwide food protection manager certification program that must be taught and reviewed regularly. Additionally, my students take the extremely difficult credential test that goes along with the program. As with any standardized testing the stakes are high, particularly in the area of program funding. Zero students passed the ServSafe credential test the first year it was implemented. Only three students(5%) passed it the following year.  That summer I was invited to be a part of the ALEX Unit Plan Development Team for ServSafe. I knew I had to find new and innovating ways to implement the ServSafe content. The answer: Kahoot! and PowToon.

Image result for kahoot and powtoon
Image retrieved from

The learning game Kahoot! increased engagement, made learning fun, competitive, and promoted positive classroom management throughout the ServSafe unit. PowToon is a wonderful video and presentation tool. Using PowToon as a presentation tool for ServSafe grabbed my students attention much quicker than the typical PowerPoint included with the programs instructor toolkit. Larson and Lockee (2014) explain that the media you select serves to “deliver” the instructional experience to the learner similar to how a straw delivers a milkshake to your mouth (p. 183). Using PowToon & Kahoot! as instructional technology tools did just that by making the material come to life through cartoon-like animations and competitive interactive gaming. The overall results from the ServSafe credential test that year revealed the benefits of technology implementation, seventeen students (85%) passed and received their ServSafe Management credential.

Image retrieved from

I recently learned about Animoto, a video and presentation tool that’s similar to PowToon. I haven’t had the opportunity to implement Animoto into the ServSafe program but I plan to do so this year. What appeals to me is the ability to add and use your own photos, videos, and licensed music. I believe this has the ability to make the content even more relate-able to students. In their journal article titled Technology in ELT: English Teachers Investigate Animoto and Fotobabble, authors Coskun and Marlowe (2015) explain that Animoto helps students make connections and make meaning, which in turn gives greater depth to their individual learning processes; in addition, the implications of Animoto broaden as students and teachers are able to take advantage of this and many other web-based instructional tools(p. 120). Take a look at this video on how to create your first Animoto:


Animoto. (2015, July 5). Creating your first animoto video[YouTube]. Retrieved from

Coskun, A., & Marlowe, Z. (2015). Technology in ELT: English teachers investigate animoto and fotobabble. International Journal of Higher Education, 4(3), 119-128.

Larson, M. B., & Lockee, B. B. (2014). Streamlined ID: A practical guide to instructional design. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

3 thoughts on “Beginners Guide To: Story Creators & Creativity Tools

  1. Love this idea of looking for innovative ways to help your students grasp the concept! Instead of keep on keepin’ on, you looked for strategies to interest your students (Larson and Lockee, 2014). I have used Powtoon, but not thought of integrating into my classroom lessons very much- I need to. I also love that you’re branching out- Animoto is a great resource!

    Larson, M. B., & Lockee, B. B. (2014). Streamlined ID: A practical guide to instructional design. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.


  2. Brandi,

    It is amazing to see the results you were able to get from your ServSafe program. That is using technology to the fullest. Larson and Lockee stated that technology should be used to enhance the learning not have the learning planned around the technology (2014). You did just that by choosing technology for the purpose of increasing student engagement in learning. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog.

    Larson, M. B., & Lockee, B. B. (2014). Streamlined ID: A practical guide to instructional design. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.


  3. Brandi, thanks for the useful information. Although I work with college students, I do try to find the most fun and interactive ways to still engage them in my class without doing the usual lecture. I have used Kahoot and Powtoon with them and they seem to enjoy it, but I’ve been wanting to do more. I will definitely look at Animoto and Fotabble. They both seem very user friendly and fun to work with. Larson and Lockee also states that “you would be prompting students to learn with technology”; “it provides a means for them to collaborate and communicate to facilitate their learning”.

    Larson, M.B., & Lockee, B.B. (2014). Streamlined ID, a practical guide to instructional design . New York, NY: Routledge.


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