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Storymaker is an iPad app that allows learners to create stories. It is one of the most suitable storytelling apps for beginning learners because it offers visual clues for basic vocabulary. There are two versions of this app, a free one (link above) and a paid version (click here).

Using the free version, a user can draw their own story using pens, import pictures from their camera roll, or she can select one of many items that are categorized at the bottom. Each item can be dragged and placed wherever needed. A story can include as many slides as a user wants, and when telling the story, a user can record his voice for each slide to tell the story. A story can also be edited even after it is saved or shared. Although the free version doesn’t allow for users to permanently save their stories or share them, it does offer all needed functions for creating the stories and telling them.

How do I use it in class

I’ve used this app mainly with beginner students. The app provides them with basic vocabulary they need to acquire about their surroundings, like names of places, occupations, everyday clothes, food, animals, classroom and house furniture, and transportation. For example, after covering occupations in class, I usually ask students to choose an occupation and create a story about a person who does that job.

The app can be nicely used as well to practice place prepositions. You can give students a plain room like the image below, and they place different items (people or objects) from the menus below following your instructions. For example, “Ahmad is a teenager. He is between the door and the window. His mother is next to him” and so on. Students love this activity, especially when I ask them to share their pictures via Instagram.

An empty room for students to use

An empty room for students to use

Best Practices

To avoid having students create a story of one slide or two sentences only, I usually set some minimum requirements for what I expect. Those who want to exceed them are rewarded, but everyone needs to meet the minimum to make it a proper story. For example, they usually should have: a title slide, 5 content slides, and one conclusion slide.

While the full version of the app is not expensive, some students might not be able to get the app for millions of reasons (students!). That shouldn’t be a problem if you want them to share the story with you for your own records. After creating their stories, students can take screenshots of their slides and send these images to you via email.