Storybird as a Creator App in the Classroom

This week in EDTS 325 (Educational Technology in the Classroom), we discovered different apps meant for “creating” and “consuming”. We were to find an app used to create and explore its uses.

I chose Storybird. This is a wonderful app with thousands of illustrations that you can add words to, in order to make a story.

I wrote a story about an orchestra made up of animals! I had a lot of fun creating the rhyming scheme for each animal. You can check it out if you’re interested, it’s called “The Wild Orchestra”.

While I had lots of fun using the app, I can think of numerous ways to get a class actively involved with the app.

Classroom Application

  1. As a Fan-Fiction writing exercise.
    • While the art may not be exactly the same as some characters, the writing mechanics can be enhanced with pictures, and even provide as writing prompts. This means students can connect with the story and extend their understanding further than just reading the book. I can see this working at many levels of education, from Elementary to University!
  2. For original poems, short stories, and short novels.
    • This would really allow students to find images to fit their stories and create connections with the reader. In an English Language Arts class, I would ask the students to write a story and would assess their writing capabilities while allowing for creativity.
  3. Flashcards
    • Yes, this isn’t as conventional as creating stories, but there are numerous images, especially to show emotions. An example is the word “sad”. You could find a picture to match, that shows the emotion, and attach a picture to the word for memory. This helps students to associate the word with the image.
  4. Journaling
    • This is one of my favorite ideas! I think it would be really cool for those to express themselves with the images that are available. You can always edit and add more pages to the “book”, or create new ones. I think this would go beyond the pen and paper because it adds a visual that older students might not add if they don’t feel artistic.
  5. Elementary First-Word Books
    • Teachers can create the stories for the younger students to learn their first words. I can see Storybird being used for spelling lists, and as a fun way to introduce new words.

Ease of Use

Storybird is very easy to use! I had my own story written in about 30 minutes, and the hardest part was figuring out what words should go with the pictures!

The only drawback is that you cannot add extra pictures to the story once you choose a tag, and you cannot add your own pictures. This does make it a bit difficult if students want to add their own images and drawings, but it does mean that the process is focused on the writing.

It has a reward system of “Crowns” where you get points for each story you write, or a streak of writing. I love this aspect of the app because it encourages daily writing! There are also points for completing monthly writing challenges, and these prompts could also be used in the classroom!

Final Thoughts

I look forward to using this app in any class I teach, and in my own personal life for fun! I had a lot of fun using Storybird, and hopefully, I can build my own writing skills daily by creating new stories and poems with the app. If you’re an English Language Arts teacher, looking for new ways to spice up writing exercises, this is the app for you!

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