Quote of the Month

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

Thursday, April 5, 2012

How High Can You Jump With Your Imagination?

April has arrived despite everything being coated in frost this morning.  So has spring break and...National Poetry Month.  Continually searching for new online applications to use with students, I tend to search through my alphabetical (librarian's habit) list of web 2.0 goodies to try.  StoryJumper was designed about three years ago by three Dads so storytellers of any age could tell their tales.

StoryJumper is free of charge unless you wish to purchase a hardcover copy of your story; an extensive terms of service and privacy policy explain how it is to be used by children/students under the age of thirteen.  Teachers can convert to a classroom edition from an existing account. An easy seven step process combined with your own photographs and/or artwork or images found at StoryJumper are guaranteed to produce pleasing results.

I decided to "jump" right in by clicking on the orange create button.  At the next page are a list of templates for first time users to explore; Build a book from scratch, Treasure Map Builder, Food Fun, Ocean Tale, Costumes, Trucks and Rescue, Magic and Myth, Astrozone and Train Time.  I, of course, selected to build a book from scratch.  If unsure about how to start, there is a quick tutorial to read or a short video to watch.

The screen that appears is a working area for creating your story/book.  Across the top from left to right a new page, copy page and delete page option are available as well as a storyboard type display of the front cover, dedication page, all sixteen pages and the back cover of your book.  The small grey box in the upper right hand corner contains icons for single or double page view, fitting to your screen, a flipping tool and zooming in and out.

On the left hand side of the screen four types of elements may be added:  props, scenes, photos and text.  When you select one of the props it is shifted to the highlighted page.  It can be resized from any of the corners, twirled at an angle with the dot, moved forward or backward, flipped, copied or deleted.  Placement of a prop can be anywhere on your page by dragging it.

By clicking on the more props button a search can be made for something specific.  When you find what you need, clicking on it moves it to the prop selection on the working screen.

The next screen element that you can add to your story is a scene or background.  Just as for the props element there is a large searchable selection from StoryJumper but you can add your own also.  I uploaded some photographs.  Any images that you upload can be turned into a prop or scene in a few quick easy steps. 

Eight text box frames are available.  Text can be moved forward or backward.  Seven different font styles can be sized, changed to boldface or placed in italics.  Font color and background color for the text box are additional options.  Text can be justified or deleted. 

All that's left now is to compose that story.  As this was my first time using this application I did not use all sixteen pages.

I did find that I needed to add a page with just an image if I wanted my front and back cover image to be text-free.  The StoryJumper app will only choose from created pages.

To save your story/book or upload an images your need to register.  When creating an account you are asked to give a user name, a password, your birthday, an email address and whether this is a classroom edition account.  A confirming email will be sent to you.

When sharing your story, by default it can be viewed by you only.  You can change that to include anyone or only family or friends.  If you want to explore other stories just click on the explore dot although there is no search option.  There is a very comprehensive help section.

I made my story able to be viewed by anyone but there is no way to get a URL link or HTML code to embed it in a website or blog.  I have copied a link that I hope will work. 

StoryJumper offers another avenue for digital storytelling that has huge potential in and out of the classroom.

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