This is a part 2 in a ‘Writing digitally‘ series. In this post I will focus on 3 digital storytelling/writing tools. Students love to write their own books, take a book writing project, add digital tools and you can get a digitalized book writing project where students can share with others online, as well as print it out. I found three possible tools that look very promising. The first allows teachers to have a protected environment for their students to login, the second has a great editor but unfortunately is more focused on selling a published book, and the third is still developing, but definitely worth a look.
Storyjumper This site is free and you can create a virtual classroom for your students. You can add your students, give them usernames or have the site auto-create names (like sillyracoon). Has already ready handouts to print out for directions to parents and students on how to access their account, including your class ID already filled in for them. Home access is an option, can be turned on or off. Students can create stories and share online for free, or print out for a fee (from $24.95 up). Can create a story from scratch, or use a themed template, can also create a calendar or build a treasure map. Students can import pictures from flickr or own computer, also can use ready made props (images), background scenes, and text boxes. Once your story is complete you can share via a link within an email. As it says in the handout: Storyjumper is safe and simple online tool that let’s you and your kids create fun, illustrated stories. You can share stories with friends and family, find stories written by others, and even print books. If you don’t want students/parents feeling pressured to buy a copy of the book I would restrict the access to only at school and would print out their published books there.
Titatok is sponsored by Barnes and Noble and has a free teacher account feature. Teachers can create accounts for students to sign-in. There is an easy to follow ‘how to create a titatok book’ handout. It has different ways to start, depending on age of student and ability to either get a little help (Age 8 + StorySparks) or start from scratch ( Age 10+). Students can add own pictures or images that are available within the program. Has an easy to use editor. Only issue is that you would have to purchase the published story to have it, 2.99 for pdf, 13.oo for soft cover and 18.oo for hard cover.
Storybird is fairly new and improving all the time. Students can select themed art and click ‘start a storybird’. You can collaborate with others, inviting them through email. Ability to print your story will be coming soon. Currently there isn’t a place for teachers to add students so to use it in the classroom teachers would need to create an account and have students use their account to work on and save their stories. The artwork is beautiful. Since it is new there are many of things on their ‘to do list’ so I imagine that this tool will only get better as time goes on.
Here’s a review of Storybird from the ISTE’s Favorite Web 2.0 tools:
Mary Beth Hertz of Bluford Elementary School (Philadelphia, PA) loves Storybird. Storybird is a site that allows the user to create an online book with beautiful color illustrations and ‘flippable’ pages. This site is so wonderful because, with its eclectic and colorful artwork and simple, intuitive interface, my 2nd grade students have shown immense creativity, and it has motivated even my struggling readers to write stories.
Possibly worth looking into:
More resources on tools for online writing/storytelling tools: