Review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2015
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Imagistory: Schools Edition - A Storytelling App

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Kids use pictures to create narrative adventures in easy-to-use app

Subjects & skills
  • English Language Arts

  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Creativity
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: Welcoming illustrations and user-friendly controls make for a fun experience.

Cons: There are only six books to narrate, without any option to upload or create your own from scratch.

Bottom Line: Illustrated story prompts are a great start for creative storytelling.

There are some great suggestions for how to use Imagistory: Schools Edition - A Storytelling App in the app's parents and teachers section. Kids can narrate stories individually by choosing which story to use, or teachers can assign the same story to all kids, then review everyone's stories to hear the variety of things kids invented. Kids could potentially narrate stories in small groups, with a different kid narrating each page. Teachers can focus on particular vocabulary words or themes by asking kids to incorporate certain aspects into their stories. Explore the main elements of story by having kids review the illustrations first then map out their story highlighting the beginning, middle, and end, as well as the characters, problems, resolutions, and other important points in a story arc. Kids can dramatize their stories in small groups or create their own illustrations and stories offline.

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Imagistory: Schools Edition - A Storytelling App lets kids record their voice as they narrate premade picture books. Choose one of six stories; kids can preview the book with the quiet-read option or jump right in to the record feature. Once they tap "create," kids pose for a photo to accompany their chosen author name and immediately start narrating the story. While recording, kids swipe the screen to turn the page until they reach the end where they can listen to their story, record a different one, share it (after passing through a gate), or exit and choose a different story.

Finished stories are saved in the "listen" section. In the parents-and-teachers area, those who can pass through the gate can star stories to mark them as favorites, share stories, go through a user guide, or read teaching tips and extension suggestions.

It's great fun for kids to imagine and narrate their own stories, and Imagistory's easy-to-use interface makes this process a piece of cake. It's nice that kids can preview the books to get an idea of what the illustrations show. Though even after previewing, kids may feel hastily thrown into the recording session immediately after tapping "create." A separate "record" button could help kids feel more in control.

At the time of review, there were only six available stories. There are a good variety of themes, from fantastical adventures, to silly bubbles coming to life, to a realistic-looking day at the beach. Yet it would be great to see more options offered up front, especially considering the app's price. Even a "draw your own" option could be a nice alternative; kids could create their own illustrations from a blank slate and some simple drawing tools and then narrate their own story. For the most part, Imagistory: Schools Edition - A Storytelling App has a nice concept, a user-friendly interface, and some good support features, all adding up to some great sparks for creative storytelling.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The included stories have nice illustrations that depict fun and silly adventures. Kids should enjoy getting creative as they narrate what's happening in each picture. With only six available stories, though, choice is limited.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Kids work on language and speaking skills as they narrate pictures. Illustrations follow a clear story arc, which can help kids build storytelling and organization skills.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

A how-to guide helps orient new users, and a teacher's guide gives helpful usage suggestions. Kids can listen to stories they've created. As an open creative platform, the app is also easily accessible.

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