Thursday, 7 August 2014

Chain Stories

Welcome again to a new goal, part of The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators on tour, a new landing in the journey I am happy to be your Inspire Leader. So where in the world is the 30 goals landing once more? In Spain. 
Shelly Sánchez Terrel and myself invite you to accomplish the following goal: 'Chain Stories'.

Accomplish This Goal

Find students and teachers in any part of the world interested in connected writing and have them contribute to or organise a collaborative chain story. A chain story is an easy way to have students learn vocabulary and work with their friends. In a chain story, the teacher begins the story, student A continues the story, student B continues where A stopped, and so on.  The students have to listen to each other and understand each other so that the story makes sense and flows.

How We Accomplished The Goal

Shelly Sánchez Terrell, @ShellTerrell, designed these learning missions for the INTEF ‘Digital Storytelling for Teachers’ e-Training Course, of which there have been two online editions in Spain so far, October 2013 and February 2014. My role at the course was an advisory one.

Participants were asked to accomplish the goal through two different activities:
1. Contribute to a Collaborative Chain Story
For this first proposal, participants contributed to a collaborative web chain story. We used an online tool, Padlet. This tool allows you to click on the web wall and add text, images, videos, and more. You do not have to register, but our participants were asked to include their name. Contributions can be made on any mobile device with internet access or on the web.
The instructions were clear, and participants were asked to work in groups:
A. Visit the collaborative chain story for your group by clicking the link below. The story has already been started.
B. To contribute to the story:
  • Read the entire story up to the last post. NOTE: It begins from the bottom up. Your contribution needs to make sense and continue the flow of the story as well as relate to the previous post.
  • Click on the board, a box will pop-up, please add your first and last name. If you feel uncomfortable with this, then add the first letter of your name and at least 4 of the initial letters of your last name.
  • Start typing your contribution. It should be at least 100 words long. Add an image or a link to a video or sound clip to accompany your part of the story. This added multimedia should be an element you wrote about in your story.
C. When you are finished writing your story, make sure to save your part of the story as a pdf. To do this, click on the bar on the far right. Click on the Share/Export icon (the 4th icon with an arrow). Choose Export PDF
2. Organize a Collaborative Digital Story
The second proposal asked participants to organize a collaborative story using digital tools. We asked teachers to do this with their students but if this was not possible, then they could do a public collaborative story and invite participants. They had to have at least 5 additional people contribute to their story, including themselves; this made 6 authors.
The instructions were explained in detail, as follows:
A. Choose any of these tools to create your collaborative story:
  • Voicethread - Create a collaborative story by uploading images, documents, and videos that are turned into a multimedia slideshow where learners and others can navigate slides and comment in various ways.
  • Voxopop - Create collaborative audio stories or have discussions. Listen to this example chain story by Nik Peachey to give you ideas.  
  • Google Presentations - Have each person contribute a slide and include images, colored fonts, and more. Here is a template you could use.
  • Book Creator Lite for iPhone, iPad- Each student contributes a page to the story. Make sure you include their voices or drawings so that we know your students contributed to the story.
  • Padlet- Tell a story with sticky notes. Add video, images, and text. Choose the stream layout for your chain story. Each person will see the previous post and will be able to contribute. Students or your peers DO NOT need to create an account. However, they should include a name even if it is an alias. This app is free and available on the web or through any mobile device with Internet access. Here is a good tutorial on how to set-up a free account and begin the story.
  • If you want to use another tool, please get permission. We have chosen these tools because they offer visual or audio stories. A text only story will not be acceptable.
B. Create the beginning or framework of the story and have your students, peers, family members, or the public add to the story. Give good instructions because the story needs to make sense. It needs to have a clear beginning, middle, and end. At least 5 additional people need to contribute to the story. It should be obvious that 5 additional people contributed.
C. With some of these tools, they will need to register for free accounts so please do not save this to the last minute. You should have someone end the story or end it yourself. You need to turn in a completed story, put together well.
D. Participants should publish this story online. When their digital story is complete with at least 5 additional contributions from other people, they were asked to please submit the link to their story.
Outcomes by Participants
The collaborative chain stories to which participants contributed in both editions have been compiled into printable booklets, downloadable from Slideshare:


Thank you for dropping by! I hope you enjoyed your stay.
Find out more about The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators at and join our 30 Goals Facebook community!


  1. Great idea. Thanks for sharing!


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