Common Sense Review
Updated November 2016

StoryJumper

Storybook creation site has great support for classrooms
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • Teachers can set up a class from the teacher dashboard.
  • Set parameters for each particular class including whether students can search Flickr for photos to include in their books.
  • Students can use a variety of features to build their books.
  • Browse through and read published books from other users.
  • Teacher materials include a detailed step-by-step guide to crafting a story.
  • Learn about and contact Leading Educators for advice.
Pros
Students can lead with a great idea or illustration, or start from built-in content; there's so much advice, they'll never be stuck for inspiration.
Cons
Younger students might need a little more hands-on guidance; the site's nice and simple, but design is feeling dated,
Bottom Line
Reliable, easy-to-use storytelling tool gives students solid tools to tell a story, collaborate with others, and share their work.
Mieke VanderBorght
Common Sense Reviewer
Researcher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

The simple interface minimizes frustration and helps focus students' imaginations. The speedy process will satisfy impatient students, and a finished story will hopefully inspire them to write another.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Students can dive right into the Story Creator, and there's a printable worksheet for more methodical writers that keeps them on track and introduces the writing process. Books can be translated to more than 40 languages.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

StoryStarter includes all kinds of prompts that will help students get going. An instructional video tutorial, green help buttons, and author guide help creators. Teachers can email "Leading Educators" for advice.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

Teachers could find many ways to use StoryJumper with students. The teacher dashboard allows teachers to create a secure virtual classroom where all student work can be reviewed as well as sent home to parents. And, even if teachers aren't able to use the Story Creator interface in the classroom, the site offers a workbook with lesson plans that could fill up a week's worth of classroom language arts or writing time. Have students work individually, or create a group project for students to develop a story in small groups or as a class. There are several options for professional collaboration. Teachers can read about how other teachers have used StoryJumper in their classroom and contact them for advice. They can also designate a "lead" teacher in their school to oversee work in multiple classrooms. The site also offers a "write-a-thon" school fundraiser program, where family and friends can sponsor students for publishing a book. Sponsors get a copy of the book, too.

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What's It Like?

StoryJumper is a website that lets students create and publish their own illustrated stories. Whether students are beginning writers or brushing up on their skills, StoryJumper provides an outlet for them to use their imaginations as well as learn some real writing strategy if they're ready for it. The simple interface auto-saves students' progress as they drag and drop images to illustrate their stories and add text. The Classroom Edition for teachers includes a separate dashboard and a handful of helpful features.

Like many digital content programs, StoryJumper's interface begins with two blank pages. To add illustrations, students choose images from a panel (for example, a brown bear) and drag them over to the page, placing them against a background that they can also choose. They can resize the bear to fit into a mouse hole, or resize it Godzilla-size. This image manipulation might even change a kid's story, which is why it's such a fun feature. Students can also insert text, which can be written in a handful of different fonts and colors and overlayed in a variety of stylized banners. There are lots of customization options that students could spend a lot of time exploring. Authors can purchase digital or hard copies of their books, and read digitally published books on any type of device.

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Is It Good For Learning?

StoryJumper works for a wide age range, although the kid-oriented design may put off students at the upper end of the grade spectrum, and the design, while recently refreshed and easy-to-use and functional, still lags behind some competitors. Little students will enjoy playing around with the preset props, and older students can construct a more advanced story using the advice provided in the StoryStarter section of the site. Putting together the illustrations can be as fun as the writing; the options for props and scenes are extensive and very fun to explore. StoryJumper also includes some nice little touches; for example, when you turn pages, it makes a papery "whoosh" sound to approximate a real book, and kids can comment on published works. When creating a new book, students can start with a template, each of which offers a nice option for beginners to enter their own information and customize a book while learning how to use the interface. However, more templates would be useful to learners. While it's easy for students to jump in and create, younger students will hands-on support to help some through the creation process. Students can also share their books and explore a searchable public library.

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See how teachers are using StoryJumper

Lesson Plans