Story Jumper is an online tool that allows everybody to create digital illustrated books. The stories are made on an interface that looks like the following, where the author can choose from different images already given, such as props and scenes, but can also import his or her own pictures.
The left page is usually used for an illustration while the right page is where the text is written. Once the story is completed, the author can read his/her book and, if desired, share it with his/her entourage or make it public. There is also the possibility to print or buy the book that has been created. Here is a quick tutorial to Story Jumper:
As expressed by Douglas Walker, the application is fairly easy to use and come with instructions, which makes it even more easy. This tool can be really useful in the classroom, because it involves the students’ creativity and imagination. It has been said that younger students quite enjoy playing around with the different graphics and props, creating their own stories. Furthermore, Story jumper has the ability to “provide ownership over student learning.” This way, the students can really feel like they are somewhat in charge of their learning and that they are really accomplishing a purposeful task, which is often not the case for the students. It also a great way to have the students create a story with images without having them draw, which can be humiliating for students who do not have a lot of artistic skills. Furthermore, if teachers do not want to write their own stories, they can have access to a lot of books created by other authors who have decided to make them public. This way, the can just find a book that correspond to the lesson they are teaching are use it in class with the students.
Story Jumper also offers a classroom version of the application. Though I did not experience it, some reviews found that it was an interesting tool to work with. When they log in, the teachers have their own dashboard where they can create classes, assignments and monitor the students’ works. It “allows teachers to create a secure virtual classroom where all student work can be reviewed as well as sent home to parents.”
However, Story Jumper also have downsides. Indeed, this software may be very popular for younger students, but older students may find the concept and the graphics too childish. This may impede their willingness to achieve the task that has been asked. Furthermore, not all students are comfortable with this kind of technology. Teachers will have to train their students in order to have them use Story Jumper and, as pointed out by Instructional Technology, it may take a lot of time out of content instruction. For younger students, teachers may even have to explain the software many times during the process of creation.
In the framework of an ESL classroom, Story Jumper can have multiple functions. First, it can be used by the students to practice the vocabulary, the structure, and the grammar rules they have seen in class. For example, the teacher could give the assignment to create a story, either individually or in teams, in which they would practice the past verb tenses and/or the food vocabulary words. If they do it in teams, the students will also improve their social skills since they will have to work with other members to accomplish the task. Story Jumper could also be used to evaluate the MELS ESL program’s C3 competency, which is to write texts. This could be a more enjoyable alternative for students than to write a text with pens and papers without any graphics to illustrate the story. Furthermore, teachers could use the stories they wrote or that have been written by their students to enrich the class’ library. They could either buy the books (there are discounts for class purchases) or by simply printing the different stories.