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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Google Docs Story Builder: Creating the "Back Story" to Documents

Most of us have used Google Docs in a collaborative setting, and we've seen how multiple users edit and add on to each others' comments. But Story Builder allows students to create a narrative around those changes by animating the discourse between fictional writers on a Google Doc. The best way to understand this site is to visit and see some of the sample stories there.

Here's one of Google's own examples:

Sample Applications for the Reading/Language Arts Classroom:
  • Two of a book's characters can describe a shared event, told from their unique perspectives. For example, two fairy tale or fable characters can each explain their side of a story, contradicting and correcting each other as they go.
  • Given a quote from a novel, two or three of the novel's main characters can begin discussing it, and possibly modifying it, to express their individual world views.
  • In the book Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen, we hear dual perspectives of the book's main events as the first person narrative switches from Bryce to Juli with each new chapter. Google Docs Story Builder would be the perfect tool for telling both protagonists' point of view in a novel such as this. You might even consider having students work in pairs, with each taking on the role of one of the book's characters.
Notes and Caveats:
  • I haven't pushed this app to its limits, and cannot attest to the maximum time or number of characters permitted. I'd recommend keeping it simple to start.


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