Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Docs Story Builder, a great classroom web tool

Docs Story Builder is a fun tool for making short videos that appear to be a Google Doc with multiple editors.  When you create one, you choose your characters and then add the text they type, (or modify) as they take turns editing the document.

There are several fun ways to use this in the classroom. Below is an example I made to show my students about punctuating dialog.

Here is an example from Alyssa Navapanich @MsNsChem. She created this one to show how different scientists have changed their understanding of the atom over time. 
A few tips: 
  1. Plan your story before you start. You can't go back and edit what a character says easily.  Here you can find a Docs Story Planning Doc. (Use File/Make a copy to get your own.)
  2. You can change the color for each character. You can also change the speed of typing for each segment and the length of the pause between characters. 
  3. It's fun to have a character edit or add to what the pervious character said.  Don't erase the grey text of the character that came before. 
  4. You can choose the music, but it's limited.
  5. When you finish your story you get a goo.gl link to share. SAVE that link. Since you don't login there is no other way to get back to your creation. 
Note: Docs Stories are not YouTube videos. (The examples I have here are on YouTube because I screencasted them.) Not being on YouTube means they are not likely to be blocked by school filters. And because there is no login required to create them, even students without Google accounts can make Docs Stories.