Knight Lab Online Storytelling Tools

ConstructionismStorytellingCognitive ConstructivismTimeline

The Northwestern University Knight Lab features a collection of projects that “help make information meaningful and promote quality journalism, storytelling and content on the internet” (Knight Lab, 2020, para. 1). Currently (in 2020), the list of working projects includes six storytelling tools: Juxtapose, SceneVR, SoundCite, Storyline, StoryMap, and Timeline. There are also two projects in beta testing (Learn and Sensor Grid) and a number of prototypes, experimental, and past projects. The current storytelling tools can be used to incite curiosity and engage students in critical thinking and exploration of information.

Storytelling Tools

The six Knight Lab Online Storytelling tools
The six Knight Lab Online Storytelling tools.

Tool Snapshot

LearningCognitive Constructivism & Constructionism
Ease of Use★★★★☆
Class SizeUnlimited
LoginFor some tools
ISTE*SKnowledge Constructor & Creative Communicator
No COPPA/FERPA policy found. Check with your school IT administrator.

Knight Labs Overview Video

Watch on YouTube


Knight Lab Storytelling Tools & the SAMR Model

Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model offers a lens for examining how technology is adopted in a classroom. As you strive to incorporate online tools into your classroom, we encourage you to use this model as an analytic tool.  Here is an example of how the Knight Lab Storytelling Tools might fit within the SAMR model: 

Learning Activities


Using the Knight Lab StoryMap tool, students can create a multimodal, interactive map of a country, state, or other location.


Using the Knight Lab Juxtapose tool, students can compare photos of forests and glaciers from 100 years ago versus today.

English/Language Arts

Using the Knight Lab Soundcite tool, students can enrich the reading experience of a text by inputting sound effects, music, interview audio files, and spoken word.


Using the Knight Lab Timeline tool, students can create an interactive historical timeline by embedding photos, text, maps, audio, and videos.


Using the Knight Lab Storyline tool, students can create a graph showing the average cost of housing in a city throughout the years of 2009 to 2019 and annotate what may have contributed to an increase, or decrease, in the average cost each year.

An example StoryLine of the United States economy
An example Storyline.


How to Use Knightlabs

  1. Go to the Knightlab Projects Page.
  2. Click on any of the 6 tools.
  3. Each tool provides its own unique step-by-step instructions to use the respective tool. They may require you to sign in using a Google account.
    The "how to" for the Juxtapose tool.
    The “how to” for the Juxtapose tool.


What is Digital Storytelling? (n.d.). Retrieved March 30, 2020, from Robin, B. R. (2008).

Digital storytelling: A powerful technology tool for the 21st century classroom. Theory into Practice, 47(3), 220-228. Robin, B. (2006, March).

The educational uses of digital storytelling. In Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 709-716). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).  


Page created by Mason Peng, Aviahna Austin, and Joey Ice.

This content is provided to you freely by EdTech Books.

Access it online or download it at