There are multiple apps to help students to develop their writing skills. One of the most interesting is certainly StoryBird. Basically, it is a storytelling tool in which students select pictures in a large collection of drawings made by artists in order to write stories. Students have the possibility to create any story about various topics by combining imaginative artwork made by artists and their own perception of them. It is entirely free, but at the end if they want, students and parents can buy the final product. In this blog, I will show how this tool can truly benefit students.
First of all, this app will truly put the focus on the essay writing and on the text that students will be writing rather than on the drawings that go with the story. So many times, I have seen students focus on which color the cat will be on the cover of their book instead of the content of their books. Now, with StoryBird, it will be impossible for students to suffer of the blank page syndrome and the time that they will save (because won’t have to find an idea or a manner that they will draw) will be used on the content of the story and the way it will be written. Like Hillerspires said in one of their articles, “Young writers often struggle with writing short fiction, especially fantasy. Coming up with an idea that they can convey coherently can be quite challenging. Using artwork to inspire or unlock an idea frees children to focus more on the craft of writing. The website has many stories that children can read as models before they write one of their own. Reading many good stories that have been published by other children their own age helps them see the possibilities for their own writing.” We could also note that the fact that they will be writing about beautiful drawings will increase their motivation for it.
Secondly, this app will allow students to develop their creative skills. Too many times students write on the same topics because they don’t have any idea or because they always see the same patterns. As a teacher if I ask them to write about what they want, they will write about things that they are familiar with, but if I use Storybird and I will provide them with new concept and new ideas. I want my students to discover about new things and to develop a critical thinking on a variety of subjects. Having them writing about different things that they are not use to will only benefits my students at the end. Like Smart Tutor Education Programs stipulates : “storybird promotes imagination, literacy, and self-confidence. Kids who play with words and pictures early in life tend to score higher in cognitive and aptitude tests later on. They read and draw more, and are better able to understand concepts and ideas. Plus, they become comfortable with the act of creation: turning nothing into something. In an idea-based society, that’s a key advantage.” At the end, students will have to be polyvalent when they will have to write anything in life because you cannot always stay in your comfort zone.
Thirdly, a way that I would introduce this app in my classroom would be by asking students to create their story and then share it with other people in the class. There aren’t enough activities to help students to develop critical judgment. If they have the opportunity to critic other students’ stories, it will help them improve this particular skill that will follow them all their lives, but it will also help the writer of the story to improve his writing proficiency. Indeed, sometimes students don’t take teacher’s comment about their written production as serious as their peers. A student who is at the same level as you in English who tells you that your sentence structure is not correct will provoke changes in the student’s mind very quickly.
Finally, I talked about the fact that storybird can be really useful if you want your students to evaluate other students’ work, but what about creating a story with your peers? I really think that StoryBird is perfect app to ask students to work in teams. When they will be working on a story, students will develop English skills, but also personal skills because they will have to take their peers’ opinion in consideration, make compromises, etc. I think that students can truly benefit from working with another person. As an evaluator, you want your students to adapt themselves to different situations and Storybird will give you just that! Like Edidatik stipulates in one of their articles : “it is possible for students to write part of a story in Storybird, and share it with someone else, who can then continue writing the story. This feature is well suited within the polyphonic use of teaching’’ Having a student to complete a story that was begun by another one will teach him that they have to understand the other person’s view which will follow them throughout their lives.
Finally, as you see, StoryBird will help your students to find ideas and to focus on the process of writing, to see different kinds of concepts, to learn how to work in teams and to be criticized. As a future teacher, I can tell you that StoryBird will certainly be used in my classroom.