Thursday, 22 September 2011

Storybird: Fluffy The Mouse-Catcher

I am proud to display my very first Storybird on my blog.

I had been meaning to create a Storybird for ages, but had never got round to doing one. Now as a result of being a participant on the fantastic free SEETA e-course called Humanism and Modern Technology, I have had the opportunity to try it out as part of a challenging task. The task was to choose a tool we would like to explore, learn how to use it, and then create something with it.

I will write up a feedback post on this really enjoyable and worthwhile Humanism and Modern Technology course once I have finished. Our tutor Hanna Kryszewska is wonderful, and I am learning lots and enjoying the great debates!

Choose a Tool
Here are some of the free tools I contemplated exploring further for the task:

Audioboo -allows you to record and upload audio
Prezi - allows you to create zoomable and exciting presentations
Knovio - allows you to add voice and video to your Powerpoint presentations
Storybird - allows you to create beautiful story books

I chose Storybird because I fancied creating a visually appealing story to send to my young nieces and nephew for them to enjoy. That was a big motivation for me. I had viewed some beautiful stories via Storybird like this one for example, and I really wanted to know how to create one as well. Doing it as part of a task was an excellent opportunity for me to learn how to create one.

Gems on The Web
I remembered reading a guest post on OUP ELT GLobal blog written by Russell Stannard called "Gems on the Web - Storybird." I went back to it, read it carefully, then followed the links to his easy to follow tutorial on Teacher Training Videos. I played it, paused it, and copied each step and hey presto, my first Storybird about a pretty naughty Fluffy had taken on life!!

Image above captured by Jing in seconds. No more fiddling around like I used to!!!

Use Your Imagination
With Storybird, you are provided with an array of stunning, and beautiful images drawn by different artists. You choose the images you want for your story and then you let your imagination run free! You write the words and Storybird does the arranging for you in a brilliant and professional-looking manner. You can also choose amongst many tags such as "Teacup", for example, and then use artwork which includes the theme of teacups.

The end result is an e-booklet, with flippable pages, and one that you can email to your friends or embed on your blog. I couldn't find the embed code at first, but once you have published your story, the embed code or link to Twitter and Facebook are clearly visible.

You have the option of keeping your Storybird completely private, viewable only by you and whoever you choose to view it. You can also create a collaborative story, and that is an excellent feature, great for youngsters of any age. There is also the option of being able to buy your published Storybird in various formats to give away as gifts for example, or simply to keep as a lovely souvenir.

There is Storybird for Schools and you can read all about it here.

More Links and Resources on Storybird
I have discovered a fabulous wiki collated by Fiona Joyce called MFL - Storybirds, which houses a colection of Storybirds written in French, German, Spanish and Italian. Here is a collection written in Italian. What a fantastic way to learn a foreign language by reading these fab examples!! There are clear instructions for how to add your Storybird to this wiki collection, if you wish.

Below is an excellent and comprehensive presentation called Storybird for Linguists also by Fiona Joyce.

View more presentations from Fiona Joyce

Here is a link to a fab blog post about "Using Storybird" compiled by Lisa Dabbs.

I do hope you find this information will inspire you to create your very own Storybird and also encourage your students to create their own masterpieces!

The Adventures of Fluffy, The Mischievous Kitten
To finish off this post you can view a photo of the real Fluffy, who is the most expert mouse and lizard-catcher in the whole of Abruzzo!! She is also a real minx and a complete tearaway!!

Fluffy has been driving me up the wall recently because:

  • she has taken to wanting to nibble and then bite my ankles for some unfathomable reason
  • she play fights with her 4 youngest siblings, who are only 3 weeks old, so I have to keep a watchful eye over her
  • she keeps on jumping and pouncing on her mum, Samantha, who really needs a bit of a rest after having given birth to 8 kittens within 4 months!!
  • Today my computer was offline for several hours, because she had been playing around with the cables!! This put me out a fair bit, as you can imagine!
  • Below, an exhausted Fluffy after having played around my desk!
Do you recognise the blog that I am viewing in the image above? A clue: the blog owner is an adventurer, a polyglot, and he loves pandas!! Please write who you think it could be in the comments!!

Here Fluffy is again thankfully fast asleep having a catnap with one of the earlier set of siblings. Does the expression "Butter wouldn't melt" spring to mind?

Below you can see Fluffy looking after her new set of tiny siblings!

Will there be more Storybird adventures featuring this irrepressible kitten? You'll have to wait and see what happens!!


Ann said...

Hi Janet,

Thanks for the interesting, informative post. Just posted a link to it on the TeachingEnglish facebook page if you'd like to check there for comments.

Please feel free to post on the page whenever you have anything you'd like to share.



Brad said...

I have a guess... but would that be cheating ? ;-)

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Ann

Thank you so much for posting a link on your Facebook page. That is very kind of you:-)



Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Brad,

Ermmm, that well might be! Let's see if anyone can guess and then I will let the world know who this charismatic blogger could be :-)