Saturday, September 29, 2012

iTalk iPads: Story Creator

I am going to try to focus on one new iPad app a week.  That will insure that I keep trying new apps, plus will help me reflect on our use of iPads.

I have a new favorite iPad app: Story Creator.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!  What about my firsties?  They LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it, too!

Here is what makes this app so special:
  • It is free.  (How awful that I list this first, but you all know why!!)
  • It is easy to use.
  • Children can create their own books.
  • Drawings, photos and text are all easy to add to the books.
  • Audio can be added, as in, children type in their text and then record themselves reading the text.  Then when you scroll through the story, you hear the child's voice reading each page to you.  Oh, be still my heart.  I SO love this feature!
  • The tech support is phenomenal!  I sent an email to the developers asking a few questions and I received a reply.  A real reply.  But it gets better.  I got the reply within hours.  The reply contained answers to my questions.  Like I said: phenomenal support!
Here is what I don't like:
  • The only way to share the created books is via Facebook.  That means we are NOT sharing our books.  But this is one of the improvements on their list for the December upgrade.  (Which I know because I received an email telling me this. : )  This same thing tends to be a glitch in quite a few apps, especially the ones that are free.  So the books will stay on each iPad and have to be shared via buddy reading or author's chair.

Here is how I unrolled this app for my first graders:
  • Ahead of time I created a three page book using Story Creator.  The first page had a drawing and text, the second page had a photo and text and the third page had a photo, text, AND audio.  
  • I used my document camera to unveil my three page book.  (I just placed the iPad directly on the document camera so my kiddos could see.)
  • I showed my students how to access the app, how to start a book and explained each icon at the bottom.  All in all, my presentation was five minutes max.  I really try to not overdo my instructions with apps.  I want my students to have lots of freedom because then they will be much more creative.
  • I let my students loose to use the app.  Some of them began to draw pictures for their books.  Other started by taking photos.  A few students began adding audio as soon as they had typed in text.  Some students discovered the spelling correction feature.  (Which can be both a help and a hindrance with beginning readers!!!)
  • I buzzed around the room listening, reading and mainly learning from my amazing digital natives!
  • As a few students finished books, I sent them to the office to share their stories.  They came back with HUGE smiles.
  • We ran out of time or we would have had a sharing time at the end.  As it was, my students were VERY upset with me when I had them cleanup because it was time to go home.  ("What school is over?  "Can't we stay longer?  PLEASE!!!!")
That's it for now!

Love to all,

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing! I tried the app out and love it too! There are a few things I would change: sharing, can only have one line of text, can't reorder pages, and would like more color options for pens. Now this may seem like a lot of things wrong with the app if someone is reading this but there is so many things right about this it! I tried it out with 5th grade the last two days and they loved it so much!