Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Little Bird Told Me

Richard Byrne at Free Technology for Teachers, Larry Ferlazzo at Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day and Kelly Tenkely of iLearn Technology posted reviews and ideas relative to Little Bird Tales in February 2011.  When three educators, whose knowledge and opinions are highly valued by colleagues in the profession, post to their blogs a web 2.0 application that they believe enhances childrens' learning, I had best add it to my list of sites to try.  When it comes to digital storytelling, Little Bird Tales receives an A+.

On the site the creators state:

Little Bird Tales was created to help nurture children's creativity and imagination while simultaneously creating one of a kind childhood treasures that can easily be shared. We are dedicated to providing a safe web environment for children, free of advertising, merchandising and links to other sites.

In their Terms they make it very clear as to who this site was designed to benefit.

The Little Bird Tales Platform is an Internet site primarily for children 3-14 years old and their parents.  To create an account users must be 18 years of age.

By clicking on the green Create An Account button users are taken to the page shown on the right.  The first and last name of a child or parent must be entered as well as an email address and password.  For purposes of this review I checked the This is a Teacher account box.  Additional boxes appeared asking me to select a school from a previously generated list or add Your school.  Adding a school requires the school's name, zip code and creating a school login code of only four characters which I did as Charlevoix Elementary School was not on the list.

Once I selected the red Sign Up button, I was taken to the working dashboard.  Off to the left are several options:  My Tales, Shared Tales and My Galleries.  My Tales is where all your creations are stored with the ability to view, edit, send or manage.  Shared Tales are those from other Little Bird designers.  The My Galleries folder is where all images can be placed and maintained.

Across the top of the dashboard are an Address Book, My Profile and Public Tales buttons which makes for easy access for those who wish to view their creations, update your name, email address, password or delete your account and see what others have made at Little Bird Tales.

As my account is a teacher account in the center of the page are buttons labeled:  Create a Tale, Manage Classes, Manage School and Import Students.  There are also a Green Tip of the Week! and Craft of the Month paragraphs.  The designers of this site believe and support good stewardship of our environment.

When I clicked on the Create a Tale button, the workspace for my tale appeared.  Images can be uploaded from your computer, taken from your gallery or drawn using the Little Bird Tales Art Pad.  Images can be uploaded to the Little Bird Tales Art Pad and drawn over. 

Select a tale title and author's name.  To add narration to your title page allow the site to access your microphone.  Select an image for the cover.

After you save and continue as long as storage space (25 MB) allows, pages can be added.  In the upper right hand corner available space is shown.  Each additional page can be deleted, undone, previewed or saved.  Either text or narration or both can be included.

 As pages are added thumbnails appear in a separate box to the right of the workspace.  By clicking on any page it can be dragged to a new position or edited.  Small icons indicate whether sound and text are part of a particular page.

Every time the save button is selected not only are the additions preserved but the tale is housed in the My Tales folder.  By clicking on that button your tale is listed along with several options:  play, edit, purchase, share or delete the tale.  A particular tale can be private or public.  A URL link and an HTML code can be accessed at this point.

Our middle school students study the genre of adventure.  In the past groups of four have worked collectively on an introduction, paired up to write two different paths possible from that introduction and individually posed four different endings based upon those paths.  Using Little Bird Tales would be a more visual and creative manner to accomplish this assignment.

 I can also see using this as a writing response to a variety of exercises with students at the elementary level.  The combination of uploading or creating images, adding text and/or voice is very appealing.  The ease of use, design of the site, no advertisements, free of charge and an extensive FAQ section are all major pluses.

For some reason the embed HTML code is not working; it links back to my blog.  I will get with Little Bird Tales to see if we can figure that out.
Here is the link to my tale.

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