Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Get Published! Part 2: Online and Physical Publishing

As part of a district technology webinar this Wednesday, I will be talking about a variety of web tools that can be used for student publishing of writing. Today, I want to focus on two resources that can be used online and physical publishing. Actually being able to hold a published book is thrilling for a student and is totally possible with a little help from the web. For this webinar, I am going to discuss Storybird and Story Jumper.


Storybird is a favorite website of mine for a variety of reasons, and it is a great tool to enhance the writing of students. The feature that sets Storybird apart from other similar resources is the quality of the illustrations. Students can choose from a variety of high quality pictures to add to their stories. By starting with the pictures, students have to think through how they would fit together and in what order they should appear. These high quality images also level the playing field for writers who are not good illustrators...like me! The interface is easy to use and it is easy to swap out illustrations. 

The great thing about Storybird is that you have publishing choices once you are finished. You can post your story to the web and embed it to your website, blog, etc. Besides online publishing, you have the option to publish a physical version of your book and purchase it. I think students would be really excited about having a book that they wrote on their bookshelf at home...I think parents would love this too! And as a bonus for teachers, there is a fundraising option where a portion of the book sales goes towards money for your classroom!

Teachers, this site has a great student management features. With a free teacher account, teachers can setup usernames and passwords for their students. You can monitor the stories they are writing and can even setup assignments for them to complete. 

Reasons to love Storybird:
- high quality illustrations
- easy integration into language arts curriculum
- student accounts with no email required
- great publishing options.

Story Jumper

Story Jumper is another solid web resource to use in your language arts classroom. It has an assortment of quality images to use as backgrounds for your story. It also has a big collection of props that you can use to truly customize your story. A great advantage of Story Jumper is the ability to use your own images. By being able to upload your own images, you can create a greater variety of stories since you have fewer limits on the images that can be used. Story Jumper also gives you the option to start from scratch or to complete a story that has already been created. This allows for differentiation in the writing process and builds in more structure for those students who need it. 

Story Jumper is also very easy for students to access and use. Each class has a 4 digit code that gives them access to choose their class and their name. This visual navigation is a great help for younger students. Teachers setup these usernames and passwords when setting up the class. Usernames and passwords can be set for anything which is great in our world of countless usernames and passwords. 

Publishing student stories is simple. Links to student stories can be posted to the web or a paper copy of the book can be ordered. Students have publishing options and that is great!

Reasons to Love Story Jumper
- easy to use interface for students
- no student email address needed to accounts
- ability to use your own images as well as images from the Story Jumper library.
- multiple publishing options

These two resources can provide you with some excellent options for integrating technology into the language arts curriculum. If you want to learn more, please join me for a 20 minute webinar on Wednesday, January 11th at 8:10, 10:20, 11:50, or 3:30 central time at the following address: http://connectpro21991761.adobeconnect.com/getpublished/

This is technology that actually works!

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