Create stories with digital story cubes!

As teaching virtual classes sinks in, I’ve had to rethink all of my face-to-face classes. This has not been an easy task and planning has consumed more time than I had foreseen. I know I am not the only one.

One activity I absolutely love is using story cubes for the module I teach about storytelling. I wrote a blog post about it some time ago. So I was wondering how I would convert that lesson into an online one and I found the solution: digital story cubes! A shout out to Nathan Hare for creating this site.

TOOLS USED


  Story Dice website  
padlet
Collaboration tool

Website for audio recording
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
Video conferencing tool

INSTRUCTIONS FOR STUDENTS

In simple terms, this is what students were asked to do.
Work in groups of 4
Choose story cubes.
Invent a story. 
Type the story.
Record the story
Upload the story.

This is what the actual instructions looked like in Blackboard:

Screenshot of lesson instructions (taken from Blackboard)

THE STEP BY STEP
Group work
Before the lesson, I grouped the students randomly and uploaded the groups in the padlet link such as in the example. So they knew who they had to work with by checking the link.

Example of how the groups appeared on the Padlet

Then, using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, I put students in breakout rooms and activated the option of them moving from one room to another, so the groups could be set easily. This option allowed students to go their group’s breakout room, since the platform puts them in rooms randomly. Each group had a number, so I asked them to go into the chatroom that had their same group number. This worked perfectly with my second group of students, since I forgot to activate the option of them moving themselves with my first group…oops.

Choose story cubes
When they were ready in the breakout rooms, students chose 5 story cubes as a group. When they came to an agreement, they took a screenshot and saved it.

Screenshot of story dice website

Invent a story
Students were then asked to invent a 15-line story based on the story cubes they had chosen. They had previously studied storytelling techniques (as a flipped task), so they were advised to include all the techniques in their story. They were also told to be resourceful and think of the icons as objects, actions or a situations.

Flipped task: infographic of storytelling techniques

Type the story
While they invented the story, they were required to type it. Here students did it in different ways. Some shared a google doc for all of them to type in. Some of them divided the parts of the story and typed it in their chat and some types the stories directly into the padlet link.

Record the story
When the story was ready, each group chose one person in their group to record the story as natural as possible. For this, they used vocaroo. I chose this tool because it is very easy to use and it provides a link of the recording. Students were asked to save the link.

A screenshot of a cell phone

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Screenshot of vocaroo website

Upload the story.
Finally, students were asked to upload their story following an example given in the padlet link, so they would know how to upload the story, recording and dice screenshot.

Screenshot of example provided to students

Overall, I really enjoyed designing this lesson because it implied thinking digitally based on a face-to-face lesson. It was a challenge and I am content with the result. Regarding time, students completed the task in an average of 25 mins. Moreover, instructions were clear for almost all students. Only one group (out of 12 groups that did this task) wasn’t sure if the instruction meant 5 dice per person or 5 per group. All in all, the use of the different tools was seamless and there was active cooperative learning among students, which has made the lesson planning process more rewarding. This is another favorite activity going in my digital teaching ideas toolbox.

To read this blog post in Spanish, click here.

Credits:
Header made with Canva. Cubes are made using Dingbats font.
Dice icons in this post by Delapouite under CC BY 3.0

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