Teachers can set up accounts for their pupils and organise them into classes, the work pupils produce is then shared among the members of the class and, crucially, it can now be published for the whole world to see.
But it wasn’t always thus. Storybird, in order to ensure content was kept to safe and appropriate standards, only allowed the publishing of Storybirds books that had been written in English. Therefore Storybird’s appeal for foreign language teachers was limited, as their stories and their pupils’ stories could not be made public.
However, in an exemplary display of engagement with customers, Storybird listened to foreign language teachers who were calling – on social networks like Twitter and in blogs like this one – for the ability to moderate their own pupils’ work and changed their policies so that teachers could moderate and publish their pupils’ stories.
Writing Controlled Assessments
As a consequence Storybird has quickly become a very popular tool among my younger students, who love the intuitive interface and the beautiful illustrations.
However, today I wanted to point out how Storybird can also be used with older GCSE classes as part of the preparation for the writing controlled assessment.
I’ve found that, contrary to what the boards intended (i.e. giving the teacher more freedom as to what to teach when), the new GCSE lends itself to rigid teaching-to-the-task. Teachers (and pupils) are always preoccupied with preparing and completing the next assessment and little time is devoted to exploring tangents and experimenting with language.
Setting up accounts for your classes is easy: you simply need to register your students and assign them a username (I like to use the format JohnS – first name plus first letter of the surname – that way you and your pupils know who it is but nobody else does). Storybird then automatically generates an account and a random password for them that they can change to something more memorable on first log-on.
In the example above, I set a practice task for my Year 10s, who are new to the concept of controlled assessments, and encouraged them to use Storybird as the medium though which it should be written.
Apart from the obvious something different factor – never to be underestimated! – by using the Storybird class account and our Departmental school blog, we ensured that the work the students produced could be shared among the members of the class and peer assessed. This way students were able to see and, importantly, learn from what other pupils had written. If my experience is anything to go by, you’ll soon start seeing weaker pupils being supported by the more able ones while you take a less visible, facilitating role.
How are you using Storybird?