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MySimpleShow for explaining (and my first story)

Looking for a simple (and free) explainer video creator?  One of my recent discoveries is MySimpleShow. Write a script or upload a little PowerPoint (up to 20 slides) and tell your story cut-out, explainer style.

This is an effective tool for writing across the curriculum as well as creating instruction.

MySimpleShow offers writers a range of story arc templates, writing tips anScreen Shot 2017-01-30 at 11.14.58 AMd an array of  example videos.

After choosing a storyline type–professional, educational or personal–the platform suggest script- based templated outlines and talks you through the steps–Draft, Write, Visualize and Finalize.

Among the interdisciplinary outlines in the education category alone are: introduce a biological process, explain a historical event, summarize literature or a movie, interpret literature or a movie, summarize a famous person’s biography, discuss pro and contra of a thesis, explain a law, explain a ground breaking invention.

After the script is typed or loaded into a storyboard, the platform somehow magically reads the text, identifying important words and suggesting appropriate images. In the Visualize mode, all suggested illustrations can be replaced with others in database, text, or images you upload yourself.  Click on any of the highlighted keywords for alternate suggestions. Users can move, reorganize, frame and scale images in the canvas mode.

In Finalize, choose from two text-to-speech voices to narrate your story, import a pre-edited audiofile or record voice-over in what is called karaoke mode. You can choose from among three video speeds.  At this point only one piece of background music is available.

Friendly explainer tutorials guide users through each step of the process.  They can be turned off once you are familiar with the steps of the creation process.

A new feature allows you to import PowerPoints.

Finished videos may be saved as MP4s or sent to MySimpleShow, Vimeo, Wistia or your YouTube Channel.

For my own first project, I edited down a blog post I wrote about a year ago, A Belated Confession.  I chose to integrate a bunch of Bitmoji images to personalize my story.

 Because the free version of MySimpleShow does not include a female text-to-speech voice, I chose to narrate my own slides.  (Tip: make sure you wait for the 3-2-1 countdown to conclude before beginning to record.)

Because images and text are closely linked, while you can edit and re-edit each scene separately, you cannot go back a stage/step without losing content/work. I regret that I did not use more images in each frame of the Visualizer–you can use up to seven per frame–to make the important words in my story punchier. Timing takes a little practice and clearly, I need to continue to practice.

MySimpleShow could be a popular addition to your digital storytelling toolkit across the curriculum.

My wish list?  I’d love to see an education version with just a few more voices, images, a couple more transition options and a way to go back to redo elements of the Visualize step.  Nevertheless I will absolutely be using this FREE basic version over and over again.

Next project?  Explaining MLA 8 to stalwart APA fans.

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Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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