Knight Lab Online Storytelling Tools

Knight Lab Online Storytelling's LogoThe 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

  • Juxtapose helps storytellers compare two pieces of similar media (e.g., a historical and present-day photo) and is helpful for exploring changes over time, like the development of a building or a city skyline or the destruction of rainforest.
  • SoundCite lets you add inline soundbites into your story to create multimodal text.
  • Timeline can be used to create interactive timelines with a Google spreadsheet.
  • StoryMap allows you to create interactive, multimodal stories with maps.
  • Storyline allows anyone to build an interactive line chart. This includes charts, axis labels, and cards.
  • SceneVR turns panoramic and VR-ready photos into a visual story line.

Tool Snapshot

Price Free
Learning Cognitive Constructivism, Constructionism
Ease of Use ★★★★✩
Privacy ★★★✩✩ 
Accessibility ★★☆✩✩
Class Size Unlimited
Login For some tools
ISTE*S Knowledge Constructor, Creative Communicator
Information not available

Knight Labs Overview Video


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: 

  • Substitution: Students use StoryMap to pin locations on a map (instead of highlighting these locations on a paper map).
  • Augmentation: Students create a multimodal map by adding descriptions, images, and videos to pinned locations.
  • Modification: Students use their StoryMap to tell an interactive, multimodal story of a historical event or present-day situation.
  • Redefinition: Students use StoryMap to tell an interactive, multimodal story of a famous painting by zooming in to focus on specific parts of the piece (see Bosch Garden example).

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
  2. Click on any of the 6 tools.
    The six Knight Lab Online Storytelling tools

    The six Knight Lab Online Storytelling 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.