For the purposes of this post, I’m defining collaborative storytelling as a process where one person begins telling a story, and then various others continue and complete it.
This can be a great in-class exercise just doing it on an overhead or whiteboard, and it can be a lot of fun doing it online, too.
A simple way to do it online is, while students are doing another project on their computers in the computer lab, just keep one computer open where student can take turns writing portions of the story. You can see various tools my students have used to do just that, along with a couple of stories they wrote including illustrations. One of the stories ends with me getting eaten by a tiger
There are quite a few online tools that a designed to make this kind of collaborative storytelling much easier to do. However, most of them allow anybody to make additions and offer few controls for inappropriate content.
There are, though, three that let you (or will let you in the near future) create private groups that only let people you choose participate in the story creation.
Here are my choices for The Best Sites For Collaborative Storytelling:
There’s no question that Protagonize will be the best site for teachers — in the near future. The site has been around for awhile (and I’ve posted about the site in the past), and has not had any restrictions on who can add to a story. They are just adding groups now, and they say that shortly after the New Year they will become operational. (It’s now operational, and you can read about it at “Protagonize” Unveils Its Long-Awaited Feature (By Me, At Least) For Private Group Storytelling).
Folding Story is a new site, which does not have private groups now. They, too, say that they will be implementing this feature in 2011.
Right now, the only site that says it lets you create your own groups is Storytimed. But they also won’t let you do it until you contribute to at least four of their open stories, and I just haven’t had time to do that yet.
So, for right now, I’d say the best bet is to do it the way I’ve been doing it for years with students taking turns on the same computer. In a few weeks, though, it looks like we’ll all have other options.
(For another great way to use collaborative storytelling, see A Good & Simple Collaborative Storytelling Lesson)
I just learned about another neat low-tech way from Marisa Constantinides. Here’s the tweet she shared:
Collaborative story writing (or other genre) where Students begin writing and every 2 mins paper changes hands until you get back your own
Thumbscribes lets you create private groups to collaboratively create a story. That private option makes it stand-out from many other similar sites.
Chain Stories is from Nesrin Eren’s blog.
Additional suggestions are welcome.
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You might also want to explore the nearly 600 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.