How I Use It
As a technology specialist, I've used Storybird with K-3 students as an an open-ended writing activity. Students practice multiple skills while using Storybird such as keyboarding in context, sentence structure, event sequencing, and even using online spelling tools.
This site is intended for use by people of all ages (harmless kissing, etc.). For the younger students, there are some pictures/illustrations in certain artist galleries that some teachers I've worked with have found to be a little suggestive. I created a URL list of artist galleries that seemed appropriate for the particular grade level and the ideas/goals the classroom teachers had in mind and posted them on a website for students to reference. It was also helpful for students to find pictures that they liked without having to search through all the galleries on their own. I highly recommend creating some favorite galleries to share with students, and possible ask students to share their favorites to add to the class list!
Storybird is a beautiful, simple, elegant tool to aid in story creation. Setting up a classroom account is simple both through the online editor and by uploading a class excel file. Students feel inspired to be creative and original in their stories and are often excited to continue working!
I've found limitations/frustrations for two types of students: those who have a specific story in mind and those who have no idea! For students who have a particular story in mind, they can find the art selection to be frustrating if they cannot find an image to match their idea. For those students who are completely lost on what to write, the amount of images to choose from can become overwhelming.
Storybird does not use Adobe Flash/Shockwave, so there is no worries about needing to update those players on your computers. Be aware though that there are lot of images to load for each page, so it can take a few moments if you are on a slower network with impatient students!
Also, it does cost money to export as a PDF (currently $1.99), so that may be a factor if looking to print them out/have an electronic copy saved outside of the Storybird website.