Storybird

by stephenholloran1

Storybird is a simple but effective web tool that offers a quick way to create and publish short illustated stories. The illustrations are provided by artists the site has contracted, and you will find that they are very suitable for young learners. In fact, even very young learners can quickly learn to create stories. Obviously, learners in cycle one of elementary school cannot write stories but they can participate with the teacher, adding suggestions as the story is developed. Don’t expect any sophisticated writing tools here. You only get the bare essentials. You can add pages, like in Power Point, and see these pages as a numbered list, but you can basically just add short texts to the artwork that is provided by the site. At digigogy.blogspot it is mentioned that its based on writing which at first seems fine, but in cycle one of elementary school the students cannot write. Thus, the site is essentially rendered simply a tool with which teachers can write short stories for these very young students … with their input, as mentionned above, if the teacher and the students so desire. This is not entirely a bad thing because the teacher can quickly create short stories that fit in with other activities the class is doing. moving on now to the art work … it is very colourful and has a very pleasant innocent quality that is suitable for childrens’ stories. The title of the site, Storybird, gives a good idea of the fact that it is geared toward a very young audience. It’s very basic but this makes it a quick and easy method to create short activities for the teacher who is busy. Some eight year olds, and certainly most nine year olds would be able to write, perhaps with the help of teammates, a short story on Storybird. The simplicity of the site offers a great introduction into the world of online story creation to them. What is particularly good about the site is the fact that the artwork actually inspires story telling. The idea of ‘writers block’ is resolved by the presence of pictures. As they say ‘a picture says a thousand words’. Thus, in this case pictures will often come before the story, rather than being used to embellish it afterward. The images on the site are arranged into categories such as rabbits, balloons etc. When the category is clicked on numerous different images in this theme appear. This is useful, for instance, if the teacher wants to teach a particular subject. For instance a story about different bunnies at Easter time. At EDLab this convience of having pre-supplied pictures is described as being at odds with advances in teaching techniques as children’s books move toward multimodal, this website only offers conventional pictures created by professionals instead of letting users to import their self selected or self-created pictures. It is fascinating how the same thing can be seen from a completely different perspective in the site grafite.org which mentions that with the groups of images provided students young and old can tell that story as they consider it and imagine it. This site therefore says that the pictures actually enhance different intepretations and thus creativity. Try it out and you decide, but remember, like all learning tools, the savvy teacher must use the site within reason because all good things begin to show there faults through overuse.

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