Monday, 5 March 2012

Digital Storytelling {Storybird}

My next exploration with digital storytelling was with Storybird. I found out about this digital storywriting tool on this blog early on in the term. I was very impressed by the quality of the artwork available to use as illustrations for stories. There is also a huge variety of artwork which means that most students will find something to their liking.

It was easy to sign up. I did the usual: chose a username and password and entered my email address. I set up a free teacher account right away with the option of having up to 3 classes with a total of 75 students.  Storybird has fundraising options available which may be why they can offer a free account for teachers. There are a few more options with the Storybird Pro for Teachers account for $69/ year such as:

With the Storybird Pro for Teachers you also get one free PDF book download per student (you can have 150 students with this account).

The fundraising option looks interesting, as parents always like to have copies of their children's work.

The actual writing of the story was fairly straightforward. I got my 10 year old son to write a story with the program. First of all he chose the artwork he wanted to use. This gave him the option of choosing between many pages created by this certain artist. The next step was to simply drag and drop a few pages onto a screen. After he had chosen the pages he liked the most, and placed them in order, he set to work writing his story.

I liken the process of writing stories with Storybird to using the "Picture Word Induction Model" of writing or "PWIM". If students are familiar with this process, they will have an easier time writing stories based on illustrations.

My son, who is a reluctant writer and who was so happy to volunteer to help me out ;), wrote a short, simple story. He even said that he had a little fun writing it! Here it is:

Super Alien Stuff on Storybird  I agree with how Storybird promotes their product when they write: 
It was true that since the interface was easy to use and simple by nature, one didn't have to spend a lot of time fiddling around with digital side of things and could just focus on writing a story to go along with wonderful illustrations. Some of them are just stunning! You should check it out. I will definitely be trying out Storybird with my grade 4 class, after I spend a little time introducing my students  to PWIM.

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