Friday, June 5, 2015

Our Story - an App for all Levels

This week I am hosting some guest bloggers. This is a guest post from Susan Myers.

A group from an intellectually disabled class visits the media center once a week. During the year, we made bird houses, conducted science experiments, used the catalog to locate books, and listened to stories. I thought that these students could be authors and walked them through the different parts of a book. The students spent about five library sessions creating their stories. After watching the students make books using construction paper and markers, I looked into having them use the technology they just received - iPads (we are 1:1 with Macs, but the intellectually disabled students have a cart of iPads in their room).

The Our Story app starts by allowing the user to create a new story or using an existing one. The next screen is divided into four areas. Along the top, icons allow for sharing, printing, or saving. The left side gives access to the camera roll and to previously saved stories. Students will mostly use the main area which shows photos from the camera roll and the bottom area which is the storyboard area. Photos can be dragged into the storyboard and moved around within the storyboard. Clicking on a photo lets you type in text or speak your caption.

The Our Story app worked better than I expected for creating a story with the students. I decided to ask them to create a story about the school. The students really enjoyed walking around the school, taking photos of areas they found interesting. I found the option of typing or speaking for each photo extremely helpful as some students barely know the alphabet while one young man reads and writes on about a second grade level.

The app does require a hold down and drag action to move photos down into the storyboard area. Students with low motor skill abilities (like some of the students involved in this activity) may need one on one assistance.

The app allows students to share their work by printing (PDF format) or by placing the story on Dropbox, iTunes, or emailing it. For more information about the Our Story app, visit