Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Storify your eLearning Class

A recent storify thread titled How are Online Tools Changing Science Education perked my curiosity about how the storify web 2.0 tool can be used for elearning.

Storify has been popping up on my Facebook feed for quite a while, but I never gave it much though until I came across an article in Hybrid Pedagogy that takes us through the steps of creating a Storify story.

Storify, the article explains, basically "allows the user to arrange pieces of conversations to construct a narrative." So in short, a user pulls images from a wide range of social media platforms and other media (including Flickr, YouTube, Instagram, Google+, etc) to organize and map a sequence and create a story.

As I read the article, I began to think about how to use such a tool in an online classroom. Storify not only allows the user to arrange material from a variety of sites in an organized fashion, but also promotes collaboration among a group of learners.

Here's how it works: At the bottom of the Storify homepage, you can click on the "Tools" icon which brings you to a Store in Storify button, which you can drag and save to your toolbar. This icon enables you to easily save all social media posts, videos, photos, etc as you surf the web. You can then access these resources later to build your storify page. When you click the "profile" button at the top of your storify page, you'll find all of the elements that you've stored. When you're ready to create a story, click "Create Story" and your collection will show up on the right-hand side of the template. Click and drag each element that you want for your story, add text and -- voila! A storify story.

So, how can you use storify in an elearning situation? I'm already adding the tool to my bag of tricks for my upcoming 10-week course on Israel for a winter Hebrew school class.

1.       Ask students to pick out pictures, tweets and videos that cover a variety of perspectives on a specific subject. Our class is going to concentrate on Israel's diversity, so it should be fun to get the kids to work together to find elements which we will combine into a Storify story about Jewish diversity in Israel.
2.       Comb the web for videos, links, pictures and more items related to specific subject matter. I want to explore with the kids how Israel became so diverse -- from which countries did the Jews come to Israel? If each student searches for material about one country and contributes that link or element to the storify piece, we'll have a collage of Israeli peoplehood.
3.       Assign each student, or pair of students, a particular aspect of a historical episode that, when linked, will tell the entire story in sequence. If my students aren't tired of storify by now, I'd like to divide up the periods of the 19th and 20th centuries to examine the periods of aliyah for each Jewish community and look at those aliyah stories in context of the historical events of that era.
4.       Storify can be used to evaluate a student's understanding of the subject material. When a unit is completed, students can be asked to create a storify story that demonstrates their understanding of the subject matter and present it to the class. 

Storify is completely free and allows the students to form, narrate, describe and tell a story in a way that is compelling and engaging. The combination of texts and visual data provides a great way for students to approach new material and reinforce old information. 

If I can do it, anyone can!

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