Okay! So my blog post this go around gets to be free choice, as long as it is related to technology in education in some way. After a bit of searching around on the internet, I remembered an online tool that I wanted to use during my internship, but I just did not get a chance to.
Storybird can be used by students, parents, and teachers to create short, visual stories where students select different themes, sort through various well-crafted illustrations/artwork, and write a story line using their own creative skills and ideas.
What I loved about this resource was that it was instantly engaging, and I am an adult. It didn’t take long and I was filtering through different illustrations and trying to come up with a story line that other people might enjoy – at least somewhat. It really does get you to put your creative side of the brain into gear! The fact that story writing can be so much more interactive than paper/pencil work will have students digging deep into the creative writing process. Laura Giacomini supports this in her article when she talks about how students never asked to write more than one story, before they started using Storybird. “On no account does this happen when they are writing on paper; once they finish…they hand in their papers and then do something else. They never ask to continue writing.” Changing that outcome, to a response similar to that of the students using Storybird, is exactly what we want to happen with all of our lessons. We want to have them begging for more because learning can be a ton of fun. This tweet by @lantonha exemplifies this.
There are a few things that I didn’t like however, and that really is only because I was using the free version of Storybird. The first is that you can’t download your book, unless you buy it. This really didn’t seem to be that big of a deal, because you can still view and share it online with a link. The biggest thing that I found to be an inconvenience (but a good safety measure) is that the books need to be moderated before they can be shared publicly. Using the free version, it can take weeks for the process to be completed. That is the reason why I was not able to nicely embed my book into this post.
Click to read story
From the education side of the website, there are many pluses as well when you create a teacher account. Creating and managing classrooms in Storybird is very simple and a great way to keep track of what each student is doing. You can also create assignments within the website which can include selecting specific book formats or creating word lists. Parents can also review their children’s work and read/buy the books they created. Nick LaFave does a really nice job of showing what all of this looks like in the article he wrote.
It is without a doubt that I would use Storybird in my future classroom and I highly recommend it to any other teacher, parent, or student willing to give it a try. Who knows, this may just be the answer to how we can get reluctant writers and readers engaged!