Storify your English classroom

Washington Post Storify
Washington Post Storify (Photo credit: cfpereda)

This year, I’m teaching Year 10 English. In our team discussions early on, we decided to apply some SAMR thinking to modify a task that was normally completed as a paper folio, with pictures pasted in and students adding their comments as handwritten text or something that was computer generated pasted in. Over the past year, I’ve used Storify to help compile tweets and thoughts from conferences I’ve attended. ¬†Storify is a wonderful curation tool being used by journalists, newspaper organisations, noted figures from Social Media circles, and even the British Monarchy¬†and The White House!

Our focus this term is a thematic study about power and greed, perfect as a lead in to out text study of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. We introduced Storify to our students, with the intention of them curating resources of their choosing that they feel link to this theme. Storify is pretty simple to use; you make your stories by accessing tools of the social web that are handily searchable in a sidebar and can be dragged into your story space. It’s best to see it in action, so take a look at this explanatory video.

The students have adopted it quickly and find it intuitive to use. We have asked them to provide explanations for their choices; they do this by adding text after each embedded resource. We have discovered that it doesn’t seem to work well with Internet Explorer (for those with PC’s), and I’ve been recommending they use the Chrome browser as it seems to save properly using this. Because we plan as a team, this means all of our Year 10 students are using Storify. We’re also using a Ning for discussion and as a place to store curriculum related videos, photos and links. From my perspective, that’s pretty good exposure to some very useful platforms. Both help these students gain a deeper understanding of communication tools that can be applied to other subject areas, and maybe even further, into their tertiary studies or working lives.

I can see us using Storify for other purposes throughout the school year. Our students need to study issues in the media, and it’s the perfect vehicle for the curation of an issue. Whenever you use a new application, there’s always the perceived danger that the kids might see it as passe after awhile. To me, an application like Storify is something that could be an essential part of any English classroom, just like the pen and paper or folio of old!

Our students have blogs they use as ePortfolios. I’m hoping the embed code you are provided with will work on their Edublog, otherwise we may try the export to WordPress method available. Edublogs is on a WordPress Multi User platform, so it may just work.

Obviously, Storify could be used in a myriad of classroom settings. Do explore it – I’m sure you will see the benefits. Just today, they released their Storify iPad app, so those of you with iPads in your classrooms will find it to be a fabulous addition as a creation tool. Sign up, play around with it yourself, and see just how easy it is. You’ll be a Storify convert before you know it.