Story Kit

"Part of the grant-funded International Children's Digital Library out of the University of Maryland, the StoryKit app (for iPod Touch or iPhone) combines a simple drawing program with text-entry features. In addition, you can import photos from your device's photo library and add copy below them, to create your own stories, which can then be saved and emailed, providing your device is setup for email. Adding colors and text is a multi-step process which can be clumsy. For example, to change colors, you have to go to a different screen, make your choice from 80 options, and then return to a drawing screen. The best part is the ability to import your own pictures from your iPhone's library."
Children's Technology Review (2010)

Note: Our students did not articulate any frustration with the multi-stop process required to change colours when drawing.
"If I were a student, I would most value tools that encourage me to create in new ways, build connections with others who are passionate about things I’m interested in, and be part of a “we” instead of an “I.” These tools enable us to create stories using various modalities, including pictures, drawings, videos, and sound effects. One such tool is StoryKit, a mobile application that provides the flexibility to create anywhere. For example, students could use StoryKit to work with a grandparent to develop an interactive family history or to create a journalistic report during a field trip."

Erin Reilly, Research Director of New Media Literacies (2011)

In their study, StoryKit: Designing a Mobile Application for Story Creation By Children and Older Adults (2010), Quinn et al. point out, "that although creative authoring applications for mobile devices are blossoming, usability issues limit the scale of what users can create with them." It is their hope that their work and lessons learned while creating this app, will lay the foundation for other developers "pushing the limits of what can be done on hand held devices."

Here are some examples of how we used StoryKit with our students.
On our last day with the iPods, our Grade 7's were given free choice to showcase their learning any way they wanted. Both the topic and choice of app were up to them. These three students chose StoryKit:

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A group of six Grade 7's helped small groups of grade 1 buddies create a StoryKit "Life Cycle of the Salmon" story. A great deal of mentoring and problem solving took place amongst the sevens (and the one's) while they explored the app for the first time. The students had access to the iPods and iPStudents were invited to use the iPod Camera, Doodle Buddy or Internet images with text or voice to create their story. Unfortuantly the audio will not play on this page. The sound icon means students choose to orally share their knowledge.
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The grade two's independently created Eagle stories in partners. The entire lesson was 90 minutes long. This included introducing the app, how to import pictures, accessing prior knowledge about eagles and creating the project. Although they are not finished we were pleased with the students did accomplish. With more time we would have taken the project to completion.
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Additional Resources ...

1. Nicole Chatz shares her experiences using StoryKit with her primary class on her blog "Primary Teaching Resources"
2. Erin Rielly discusses how StoryKit fosters engagement and creativity in this Journal of Media Literacy Education article
3. CEGSA (Computers in Education Group of South Austraila) provides the following Review of StoryKit:
4. School Tube - Digital Storytelling on the iPad