In my quest to keep my head above the hundreds of digital pictures I take, a few years ago someone introduced a free download from Microsoft called Photo Story 3. It claims to make “show n’ tell cool again”, and it absolutely does. It allows you to import digital pics and by default it arranges them for you in a slideshow. You can add title slides, captions, audio narratives, music, and transitions. What is really cool is that by default it adds a “Ken Burns” transition effect to all pictures….meaning it pans across the picture (but you can modify this as well)! Within minutes, you can create a very sophisticated video montage of your memories. I first used this after taking a trip to Disney World. I had tons of pics and I dreaded the thought of having to get them printed, etc. to enjoy them. But then I remembered Photo Story and I had a great momento of our entire trip. The published product can be saved to play in Windows Media Player. So you can burn them to CDs, email, etc. to the parents, grandparents, relatives, etc. I’ve seen some people use this in lieu of a Christmas card with the family newsletter!

In the classroom, Mr. Becker’s German students used Photo Story to create montages, with audio of students practicing the German language, of a vacation they took.  Mrs.  Paine had her English students use Photo Story to illustrate poetry through images and music. 

Another complimentary resource on the internet to enhance your photos is Picnik. It’s another free resource that allows you to upload a photo and edit it. There are features on the site that you would have to purchase a subscription to the site in order to use. However, if you are interested in touching up a photo in a hurry to place in your Photo Story, this is a great option. What’s wonderful is that you don’t have to log in with an email address in order to use. Plus it also doesn’t force you to have to download software to your computer like Picasa from Google. (Don’t get me wrong, Picasa is wonderful as a photo editor. It’s absolutely free and I would suggest anyone download it if they want to do any thing more than the basics to a photo.) And when you finish editing your photo, you can simply save it to wherever you like (your desktop, jump drive, etc.).

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