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Storybird

By Sally Finley - Posted Nov 6, 2013
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Company: Storybird, Inc., 190 Bedford Avenue, Suite 432, Brooklyn, NY 11249; website: storybird.com.

Price: Free accounts permit making, sharing, and reading stories. Printing or downloading stories have fees. A table of fees for printed books is available online. Premium features are available for members and teachers.

Audience: K–12

Format: Storybird works on any computer and iPad. Stories can be read on a smartphone. Poetry is a web app integrated into Storybird.

System Requirements: A modern browser is required, and suggested editions are Chrome, Safari 5+, Firefox 5+, Internet Explorer 7+, and Opera 12.11+. A reasonably fast internet connection is needed, minimum 2Mbps–5Mbps. JavaScript must be turned on and cookies enabled.

 

REPORT CARD
Overall Rating:5 Stars
Installation:A
Content/Features:A
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:A

 

Description: Storybird is a web-based site providing a tool for students to create art-inspired stories and poems.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: Storybird requires students to log in using a username and temporary password that they change. After signing up on the homepage, the user will need to activate his account as soon as he receives the activation email. In­stallation Rating: A

Content/Features: “Create” allows the user to find an artist so she can download her artwork into the editor. “Explore” provides access to the artists and their artwork. “Search” makes it easy to locate specific artwork or themes.

Teachers can add and manage students. Login Cards can be printed for each student. All classes are private.

There are 19 categories to organize stories and art. Age filtering helps the user find appropriate stories and authors in themes on the Explore page and Search.

All users have a dashboard to display their stories and poems. There are two tabs. “Your Stuff” contains all unpublished and published stories by a user as well as links to a reading list. “Following” contains new stories and artwork of people the user chooses to follow.

Storybird lets students follow writers, artists, and Storyspotters. When these people write new stories, these appear in the student dashboard. A user can block any member on Storybird. Once blocked, they can’t follow or comment. Approved Storyspotters read, moderate, and approve or reject public stories. Kid Accounts are available for children under the age of 13. Parents must give their approval. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: Storybird is easy, safe, fast, and fun, with simple, intuitive navigation. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: A link to an email address provides support, while a help center provides questions and answers and helps a user navigate the site. Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: This is an excellent site that encourages young writers and fosters a love of reading and writing. Students can publish their work and join a social network to collaborate with others.

All public stories are reviewed before anyone sees them. There are no real-time conversations or chat engines. I like the fact that stories can be made private to share with select people or posted as public.

All classes are private, although parents can log in through their children’s accounts to view their work. Students can find, read, and comment on each others’ stories using the class graph.

The artwork is whimsical and beautifully illustrated with a variety of subject matter. Once students are inside the editor, they can’t change their art. This keeps students focused on the writing process and not the selection of art. Artists can be premixed and placed in the editor before beginning the story. Personal uploads are not available, but the database generally has pictures that would be appropriate for most stories.

I loved this site and highly recommend it to teachers and parents. Highly Recommended.

Reviewer: Sally Finley is an educational consultant based in Coral Springs, Fla. Email: sallyfinley1@yahoo.com.


 
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