Storify: Changing the way we tell stories

While technology is often used for getting work done and staying organised, sometimes the most interesting tools are those that lead us to new ways of doing things. The digital storytelling tool Storify definitely falls into that category. 

Storify allows for the creation of stories using a range of different elements. It can grab content such as pictures and video from many websites and also allows for text to be added. Perhaps the element that sets Storify apart is that tweets and public Facebook posts can also be added to a story. These elements are gathered together in a ‘storypad’ and can then be dragged into the story timeline (on the left of the screen). Have a look here for a quick demonstration of how it works. The great thing about Storify is that all content is linked backed to its original source.

Add  elements by searching in the storypad and then dragging into the story.

Storify has become a popular tool for recording reactions to news stories and current events because of the ability to add tweets to stories. It is also perfect for summing up professional learning events, like this example here of a recent SLAV conference. As YouTube videos can also be added it’s a nice way to put together a series of tutorial videos or screenshots. In fact, all of the tutorials featured on Bright Ideas are built in this way using Storify. You can follow our Storify account to stay up to date with new tutorials. Storify stories can also be easily embedded into your blog or website and there is an iPad app with a nice interface (though I’d recommend building long stories on your computer as I’ve found the app has crashed on me in the past).

Elements can be imported from a range of sources. You can also search Google or use the link icon to manually add content.

Storify also has applications in the classroom. It could be used to create digital stories with pictures sourced from around the web. It would also be perfect for recounts of events such as excursions; particularly if students are also tweeting during the day or taking pictures and video. The linear nature of the story also lends itself to procedural writing, or it could be a nice way for students to present research projects.

Being able to bring in social media elements also means that Storify could be perfect for issues analysis. Students could link to annotated articles and news stories, but also include analysis of tweets by those involved or those observing. It would also be perfect for media analysis of shows which generate buzz on Twitter, like Q & A or Big Brother (that’s the first time those two shows have been mentioned in the same breath!).

Storify has been around for a little while now and a recent redesign means it is well worth exploring. The editor is great fun to use and the wide range of media that it can import lends itself to a number of exciting possibilities.

Learn for free with GCF Learn

The Goodwill Community Foundation’s Learn Free website contains a number of useful tutorials for those looking to brush up on their technology skills. The computer section of the sites features step by step tutorials and guides to services such as Twitter, Facebook and Google apps.

The range of tutorials regarding Google services is particularly comprehensive. We often use Google’s suite of tools such as Google Drive (formerly Google Docs), Gmail and Chrome to stay organised as they all work with one Google account. The site features tutorials for all of these services and more. The Google Search Tips tutorial also provides a nice introduction to some of the more powerful features of the search engine and mentions the Google mobile search app that Bev Novak explored for us on Friday.

The GCF Learn site is well worth exploring, as they offer clear, easy to follow introductions to some very useful tools. There also have several mobile apps available for free download.

You can keep up to date with GCF Learn through their blog and YouTube channel.

Cooperative Library Instruction Project resources

The Cooperative Library Instruction Project resources is a fantastic website with tutorials for students on internet use, searching, citations and more. The website explains it origins:

CLIP is a partnership between Western Oregon University, Oregon State University, Willamette University, and Chemeketa Community College whose mission is to design and develop sharable, web-based tutorials to assist in library instruction and information literacy.

The following tutorials may be of use to your students and you are able to embed them into your own website.

Evaluating Internet Sources:

Developing a topic:

Incorporating Sources into your Research Assignment:

What is a Library Database?

Generating Search Terms:

Why You Need to Cite Sources:

Internet Searching Tips:

Popular and Scholarly Sources:

Primary and Secondary Sources:

Also included are guides to compiling both APA and MLA style bibliographies.

Librarians can also request access to the CLIP quiz page as well as apply to become a writer for the site (you must join the site before you can apply.

Thanks to Joyce Valenza for blogging about this useful resource.