Storyboard That: an Exciting Edtech Tool That Just got Even Better
Storyboard That, one of my absolute favorite tools for student voice, engagement, and choice, has just upped its game even further with a new user-friendly dashboard for both teachers and students!
As a middle school language arts and foreign language teacher, I have been a fan of storyboards for many years, but when I first found Storyboard That about five years ago, I realized the potential of this amazing technology tool to provide students an engaging and creative way to show their learning and tell their stories. And I have used it every year since that time. This year, the updates will make it even easier for teachers to use this great tool!
What is Storyboard That all about?
Storyboard That is a browser-based storyboard creator that can be used to tell a story, explain a process, show relationships, or show the passage of time. Students and teachers can choose from a variety of layouts, scene backgrounds, characters of all types, textables, and props. Their choices can be edited in many different ways to personalize their creation.
Storyboard That is a powerful tool…
- For student-centered learning and student choice
- For teaching different standards in a variety of content areas
- To engage students of various age groups, abilities, and interests
- To differentiate learning through the use of templates for scaffolding
- To facilitate communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity
I want to share one example here of how powerful student voice with Storyboard That was for one of my students and how this program can help engage students of different abilities and interests. He was a 6th grade Beginning French student requiring IEP accommodations, primarily in written and spoken language, and he also had some attention-deficit issues that caused problems maintaining learning engagement. I remember so vividly how proud he was that he was able to create his storyboard all in French and then record himself saying the French words.
Storyboard That can be used in so many ways!
Here are some of my favorite ways to use Storyboard That:
- Teachers will love using this program for attention-grabbing warm-ups and exit tickets as well as teaching presentations or posters for new concepts or study guides for review. They can create individualized assignments by making templates from storyboards for some students while others create from scratch.
- Students can use this tool as a graphic organizer to analyze ideas, show relationships, put things in order, or respond to reading, audio, or video tasks. For example, my language arts students were able to read a text, such as the play The Diary of Anne Frank, and then choose dialogue examples from the text to show in a visual representation.
- Students can create original stories or explain important concepts or relationships, including social emotional learning and personal goals.
Many schools are implementing social emotional learning as part of their program to help build relationships and confidence while reducing bullying. Here is an example of a scenario a student shared to show what some students may feel. His group discussed and brainstormed possible ways classmates could respond, and then created new storyboard cells together to show how this story could end in a positive way.
- Students can create visual presentations and then record their own voices to speak the written text or explain what they have created in any language. In one of my French classes for our “All About Me!” unit, students were excited that they could show who they are and also record themselves speaking the words in French!
Instead of a written script for an introductory unit, students in one of my 7th grade French classes created storyboard examples of how to greet and meet each other at school using familiar and formal French expressions.
And yes…Storyboard That can be used with other programs!
- Teachers can explain and post the link to storyboard assignments on Google Classroom and students can download their work and submit them in there as well. Rubrics can be created by the teacher, or found on the Storyboard That website, and used for editing and grading.
- Storyboards can be exported as PowerPoints, Google Slides, Apple Keynotes, or PDF files, among other options. Students can present on a smart board or share their storyboards on Google Drive or Google Classroom after picking one of the many download options.
- Storyboards or storyboard images can be added to existing presentations (such as this image I added to a workshop presentation) or blogs, used for posters, turned into GIFs, or used on social media.
Now that you know why I love using Storyboard That with my students, let’s talk about that great New Dashboard!
There are many new and improved features developed for this school year, but here are some of my favorite updates for Storyboard That:
- Storybot That pops up to greet and help you every time you go to your Dashboard!!
Storybot That asks if you want to create, add students, clean up, ask a question, or take a tour!! As always, the help is there quickly! If it is after hours, you are told that they will be back to help you soon! And they are there! I have always had someone contact me back right away and help me with any issues I may have.
- There is a new look and organization to the Teacher Dashboard!
The new teacher dashboard has a simple, uncluttered look with an easy way to find what you need. Everything is well organized, and the new blue buttons make it easy for you to get everything set up and manage it all later!
The new Storybot That will use Storyboard That characters to take you on a tour of all of the important features if you click on “Take a tour of the Teacher Dashboard!”
- There is a new Student Dashboard too!!
I really like that the students can view their dashboard showing any of their teachers who are using the program and any assignments they may have. The Student Dashboard gives them ownership and responsibility for their assignments.
- There is an easy new step-by-step Assignment Process!!
The assignment process is much easier, especially for teachers new to the program. It is set up in an orderly and simple guided format so that you do not have a chance to forget any steps.
The new organization and look of the “My Assignments” section makes it much easier to see each assignment with the class to which it is assigned and the storyboards created for that assignment.
Here is one example from the “My Assignments” page on my account, showing what it looks like now for a former 6th grade Beginning French class. I can easily see the class and how many storyboards are there. I can click to see and edit my assignment and also view each of the storyboards created by the students.
Are you ready to get on board?
I hope that you will check out this great program this year…especially with such a user-friendly new Dashboard! You can do a free trial and try out these new improvements with your students and then decide if it could help enhance their learning and showcase their student voice!