The World Needs Your Stories!
Storybird is a creative, fun and engaging platform to make art-inspired stories that can be worked on individually or with others for collaborative projects. Users choose from a wide variety of art themes and build a story around those images. Finished stories can be shared with family and friends through print, digital, and even shared in an online library with the world.
Storybird began as a tool used by parents to encourage creative writing with their children, but now is a very popular tool used by teachers and their students around the world. The whole idea is simple: provide beautiful artwork to inspire great writing. It’s free and can be used in all subject areas. With it you can explain a science experiment or retell historical events.
There are many great examples on the Web where Storybird is being used successfully in classrooms. Here is one by Ashley Bible on how to use Storybird with older students. And here’s a great Prezi by Brooklyn Hairston on the basics of setting it up. Tech Tutorials did a nice blog with links to adorable elementary collaborative projects. But I thought I would try my hand at it and give you a user report.
Setting up an account was super easy. You have the option as an educator to set up a class account as well. And it can link up to your Google classroom! That’s a nice feature. It’s all free to use and create, but you do have the option of purchasing a hard or softcover for a reasonable price. A digital download starts a $3.99.
Choices are limited and user friendly. You start out by picking what you want to create: picture, chapter, or poetry book, then you pick your artwork theme. I searched for llamas and 3 styles popped up. I chose one I liked and a template came up and I began to fill in the pages. All of the artwork from that theme surrounds the blank pages and it’s an easy to drag and drop. You can position the pictures where you want (four placement options) and blocks for text automatically pop up for you to write. You also have the option of inviting a friend to collaborate by giving them access to you editor. Add as many pages as you want, save and exit, and voila! A book is born!
One thing I didn’t like was that once you pick an artwork theme, you are locked in to that batch of pictures related to that theme. I couldn’t go out and pull in other pictures or upload ones from the web. So pretty much my story had to be centered around the pictures available from the theme. I started out with one story idea and ended up changing it to suit the artwork. Depending what you want to do, this is either good or bad. If your students are younger, limiting the number of choices would be a good idea to prevent confusion. If your kids are older, then going to the chapter book theme will put the focus more on the writing and less on the pictures and that’s not such an issue. Another was that I couldn’t overlay text on the pictures at all. No text-wrapping. One side is the picture, the text the other, and the two shall not cross. Again, inflexible, but okay for limiting choices. I do see that with the poetry pages you can overlay words, but not with the other two formats.
Storybird is really fun and a great way to get those creative juices going!