I found a new tool that I have never heard of before called Little Bird Tales. Here I will be discussing what I liked and disliked about this tool, and determining whether I will choose “to tale” or “not to tale”.
At first I really liked this tool, looking at some examples that were open to the public. Here’s one that I liked:
I looked at a few examples and instantly thought it would be great for early primary classrooms to make and read aloud their own books, or just to put audio to their images. So I signed up!
After signing up I tried to create my own Tale. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it should be, seeing as some of the examples had pretty young students making their own Tales. I went through the process, and after about an hour of clicking and deleting, I was able to come up with a less than desirable Tale that I normally wouldn’t share with anyone, but I will here for the sake of learning.
I like that you can either draw or add your own images. The drawing tool is very primitive and reminds me of Microsoft Paint. An issue I found is that the images were stretched into one page size. There is no way to edit the images and resize them appropriately so that they don’t look squished, as you can see from my screenshot here. I read all of the FAQ’s and Help in regards to uploading and editing images, and couldn’t find a solution. There is a neat feature where you can type or add drawings to your own photos, and I feel like students would have a lot of fun with that.
The voice recorder is also very simple but I feel it could cause some problems with students using it. When you click record, it is silent with no recording indicator (the button didn’t even turn red), and I didn’t know it was recording for a long time which resulted in a lot of dead space. The redeeming quality though, is that you can easily record over what you have made, and save the new recording for each page.
The other side of this tool is built for classroom teachers. You can set your class or school up with their own accounts that you, as the teacher, have control over. You can send out assignments and the students login and complete their answers right on the Tale, and you can listen and read their answers. There are pre-made lesson plans according to the United States Common Core standards, so they may not apply to us Canadian teachers, but they are at least examples of what we can do with this tool. The down side of this part is that it is quite costly.
Some of the pre-made lessons were also not great. See the “Change a Letter” below, and you’ll notice it is just an excuse to use technology, and it is very boring.
This one on the other hand, is a little bit better, allowing the students to draw, write, and record their answers while learning Geography.
As I was checking out their “About” page I read this:
We are dedicated to providing a safe web environment for children, free of advertising, merchandising and links to other sites and we are proud to support the environment by providing parents and teachers with “green” alternatives to how they collaborate, share and distribute stories and lessons.
I especially like that they have no advertisements and links to outside websites. It is a safe site you can direct students to with minimal risk of inappropriate ads showing up, or distracting links to click on. They also seem to be environmentally friendly and a paper replacer; a lot of the things the tool can do are just another way showing work without using paper.
I feel this tool is best suited to grades 4 and under, because there aren’t a lot of customizing options and it may not be complex enough for older grades. I also think this tool would need a lot of help from the teacher as students are working and it would require too much of my time assisting students.
Overall, what is the answer to my question of to tale or not to tale?
Not to tale.
I see how this tech tool could be used in a classroom, but I don’t think it is for my classroom. I feel that I could find a different tool or app that does the same thing with better features and is easier to use.