Engaging storytelling tool!
The tool is user-friendly and kids figure out how to use it rather quickly. The drag and drop feature allows students to experiment with creative ways of sequencing and structuring material; students can easily revise their work by rearranging the content and/or going into particular sections they want to flesh out in greater detail.
Cellphones are not allowed in the classroom at my school. Since students do not have access to cameras, sites like this which allow students to select and use visual media creatively are extremely useful. Many students were most intrigued by the option to search for GIFs and they used these extensively in their stories. Music is a central fixture of my students' lives, so the option to search and include songs from SoundCloud encouraged them to experiment with music purposefully by considering themes, in addition to how the music created a certain mood and tone. The process of searching and selecting images enabled students to brainstorm, develop and refine key themes in their stories and generate writing off of these images without hitting as many frustration blocks (e.g. lack of ideas).
How I Use It
I had students apply their understanding of the storytelling arc as it is used in coming of age movies by creating their own coming of age stories on Storify. Students also needed to apply their knowledge of cinematic, theatrical, and literary elements by writing a "director's statement" explaining how each image they selected uses lighting, color, framing and movement. Students also justified their image/video choices by analyzing how the theatrical elements (costumes, props, setting, acting) serve to develop the central character. This activity also encouraged students to experiment with writing and dialogue in terms of characterization and plot.