5 great websites to get your learners writing digital stories
We encourage you to download and enjoy using our weekly Home and First Additional Language units from the e-classroom website. You’ll notice that our learners are writing more stories than ever before in the South African education curriculum. Writing short stories can be a fun and creative way for children to express their ideas. A popular current 21st-century outlook is that instead of keeping your learners’ writing confined to exercise books in the classroom, it's a good idea to let them use some of the free web-based tools that enable them to create amazing stories.
This will keep learners engaged, and will give them a sense of pride when they share their work with families and friends. Studies have shown that if learners’ work is published beyond the classroom they start to produce high-quality work that they are proud of.
The question is – which online tools are the easiest and most effective to use? This post gives a few ideas you might want to try out, going from primary level up to high school level.
You and your learners will fall in love with this site if you haven’t discovered it already. Users are inspired by the large number of themes and beautifully illustrated, grouped art works that are hosted on the site. Before one knows it, one’s creativity has been tapped and an exciting story idea takes root. Users drag and drop characters and images onto a digital storyboard. They add text and build a story around those images. The final product can be printed, watched on screen, or shared in an online library with family, friends and the world. You are also given the option to keep it private on the network.
2. Story Jumper
Story Jumper is a website that gives learners an opportunity to write, create and publish their own stories. Clipart and backgrounds are supplied to add visual impact. Learners are able to illustrate and write their book, whether it is imaginative or informational. The final result is an e-book that will bring a smile and a surge of joy to mom and dad when they read it online.
3. The African Storybook
The African Storybook is a website every teacher should know about. It concentrates on Grade R – 4 learners and provides open access to beautifully written picture storybooks in the languages of Africa. These stories can be read online or downloaded. The website also gives one the opportunity to create, reuse, translate and adapt stories, online or offline.
4. Little Bird Tales
Little Bird Tales is a storytelling and e-learning tool. It can be used by all ages because it has an easy-to-use drawing tool and audio recording button, in addition to its text and photo upload options. All learners have an individual account to make their own storybooks, or teachers can facilitate collaborative writing and drawing.
5. Book Creator
Book Creator is a simple to use app that allows for the creation of a digital book that can include text, images, video, sounds and music. It is available on Windows, Android and Apple devices. It even allows for freehand drawing or writing by hand on the page, if your device supports a stylus. As a user writes, the spellcheck is automated. This app can be used effectively with learners from Grade 1 to Grade 12.
These are just a few sites that can make writing fun and enjoyable. They can enable learners to make great strides in literacy by taking writing to a new level. The next time an e-classroom worksheet requires your learners to create a story, think about trying out one of these sites.