Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Creating a cooperative story using My Story

Today I decided to throw caution to the wind and just jump right in. We are at the end of our Life Sciences unit on living things, with a focus on bears. I thought it would be fun for students to work together to create a story about a bear.

I wanted to do a lesson that involved some discovery learning. I showed students the iPad and what app we would be using-My Story-and then I put them in groups and sent them off. The only request I made was that the story should be about a bear. Length, and content was completely up to them. It was very exciting to see students all around the room huddled around their iPad deep in discussion. The language I was hearing was amazing!!!! It was like music to my ears.

(As an aside, I started a new reward system to encourage more French out of my very capable students. Every time I hear a complete sentence in French, I give the student a 50/50 ticket. He/she writes their name on it and then places it in my fish bowl. At the end of everyday, I pull a name to choose a prize from my box (pencils, erasers, pens, mini-pads etc). Wow, what a difference that made :) After 10 tickets students get a certificate to recognize their effort.)

Anyways, back to the story creating. Students were having a lot of fun. They were engaged, working collaboratively, problem solving and practicing their oral French skills. I moved around the room and provided some support to facilitate the creative process. After about a 40 minute period, I stopped the students and we shared the stories to that point. (I have requested a cable to connect the iPads directly to my projector to ease the sharing process but alas I do not have it yet so until then I simply held the iPad up while the students explained their story.)

Then I came to my first challenge. I had to create a log where I recorded which groups were working on which iPads as each story would be saved only to that iPad. I still have a few questions about this app:
1. How many stories can be saved?
2. How can I delete a story? (I made a test and now I can't delete it) I now know how to do this: simply return to the view books page and select delete....I don't know why I found this hard before.
3. What is the best way to share the stories? We used the 'share' button to export our stories to ibook.
4. What will happen when the iPad is updated? Will the stories remain if one iPad is simply a mirror of the others (I think they are all mirrors...)? I imagine no, so they will need to be emailed...I think...
5. If I load them to the iBooks section of the iPad will they still be there when it is restored?
Questions, questions......

I am looking forward to working on the stories again tomorrow. I will see about sharing the stories here once they are complete (ummm, I wonder how I do that?!)

Update February 1st, 2012
We completed our stories. Students recorded the audio that goes along with their story. Then we used the 'share' button on the app to export the stories to the ibook app as a published book. Students can view their stories and listen to the audio in the ibook app. Below are some photos of the students engaged in the process of creating their stories (and they were very engaged!). (It was crazy hair day!)
Here is a video of one of the stories the students created. Sorry for the poor audio but it was recorded during lunch.

(For all you French teachers out there, I am aware of the grammatical errors but I chose not to correct them in this context as it was not the goal of this task. I wanted to honor their efforts and cooperation and it was simply impossible for me to correct all of the errors while maintaining an efficient work-flow.)