The way that we communicate with one another, the way that we teach, and the way that our kids learn is becoming increasingly visual. Our brains are hardwired to focus on things beyond just text. And we now have tools, including mobile tools, that can help us take advantage of that brain hard-wiring.
And over the last few weeks, teachers and I have been messing with a variety of mobile tools that focus on visual storytelling. Including my new favorite iPad app.
It’s easy to use. Paperless. Connected to different social media tools. Very cool look and feel. And did I say free? Yup. It’s free. Get a sense of what a Storehouse story looks like by checking out an overview of Gettysburg that two of us quickly put together a few weeks ago.
To create a Storehouse story, you import images or video clips from your iPad’s Camera Roll, Dropbox, Instagram, or Flickr. Once you’ve selected your visuals, use the cool creation tool to arrange them into a story with a cover image and open layout. Tapping an image lets you drag, drop, and resize it any configuration.
You can type or copy/paste info into the easy to add text boxes. You have just enough control to make the ext look good but not so many choices that you get confused. Storehouse gives you just enough control without making you want to pull out your hair. Videos can be inserted into the story or even added as the cover image to your story. And depending on what device is used for viewing, videos start and stop automatically.
Sharing your final product is just as simple as creating it. Each story is published with a unique URL that gets automatically gets updated every time you edit your Storehouse. You can share your story’s link with others via email, Twitter, and Facebook. Or you can create a link to your story on any website. If you have students use Storehouse, they will email you or Tweet you the link to their work.
Storehouse is just on the iPad right now. Hopefully the Storehouse team will be moving the app to other platforms soon.
I can see using Storehouse in all sorts of ways in the classroom. Research product. Collaborative project. Expository writing. Presentation of evidence. Digital storytelling. And why would we want kids to do these things?
Because it’s good for them to collect, collaborate, create, and communicate. All things that our standards are telling us kids need to be able to do. The Kansas State History, Government, and Social Studies Standards are asking kids to:
- support a claim, or make an argument
- inform or explain an event, relationship, position, or opinion
- tell a story
- apply appropriate technologies for the purpose and audience
- gather multiple sources of information and integrating them into short and long term projects
- present information and evaluation to others in a manner that is not totally written text
- gather and organize information and evidence
- design and deliver a presentation on a specific topic
The College and Career Readiness Literacy Standards in History and Social Studies are asking kids to:
- write arguments to support claims
- write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content
- write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events
- produce clear and coherent writing appropriate to task, purpose, and audience
- develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach
- use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others
And Storehouse can help you and your kids become proficient in these skills.