I have been a Storehouse user since day one.
This has been due to its simplicity, and the fascinating, National-Geographic-esque articles that users immediately started contributing. I also really appreciated how, unlike many startups, several of the staff found the time to reach out to me personally following the publishing of my first stories.
Community Manager Michael Kasian was one of these. One of his emails included words to the effect of “if you are ever in San Francisco, please drop in”. Little was he to know that the Australia to California distance that existed at the time might not always make this as impossible as it seemed…
July 2014 saw myself, along with 500 others, attend the global 2014 Apple Distinguished Educators Institute in San Diego California, just a few hours south of Storehouse’s San Francisco base. This event is what we like to think of as the Education version of WWDC – a unique chance to meet with other Apple-device using educators and attend dedicated workshops. As one of the major themes that emerged from this gathering was creating and sharing digital stories, I was actually surprised that more of my fellow attendees had not heard of Storehouse.
For me, I have gone onto publish several Storehouse stories, as well as to share it widely with the adult educators I train in my day job. I’ve done this because it fits neatly into a place between two ideas that are rapidly gaining acceptance by iPad-using educators. The first idea is the SAMR model of technology integration by Dr Ruben Puentedura which posits that while many early deployments of new technology like the iPad begin by simply substituting the device for tasks previously done on paper or older tech, the mobility and app eco-system around the iPad mean it can lead to learning tasks being redefined in ways that lead to the creation of entirely new content.
The second idea is the linking of a series of apps together to form a workflow that can enable this process by allowing this new content to be built up through a series of steps that lead to the use of a final app to package the content together for publishing and sharing. And this is exactly where Storehouse fits in.
Though still packing a small staff, Storehouse has already built up a vibrant community of users that includes many top photo journalists and recently saw National Geographic themselves utilise the platform to tell a story. And when I had the chance to spend a couple of days in San Francisco following the Institute I attended in San Diego, I jumped at the chance to take Michael up on his offer of a visit to the HQ itself.
So what is Storehouse? Their own byline is “The easiest way to create, share and discover beautiful stories’. For me, it is the ‘beautiful’ that really sets Storehouse apart from other tools as the app auto-arranges your work into a stunning magazine style format. For students and busy educators, it means we can go straight from the creating good content stage to the sharing our work professionally and skip the print out and paste onto poster, or endlessly fiddle with powerpoint stages.
In addition, by limiting stories to only 50 items (images, videos and text boxes) it forces stories to be relatively succinct while still giving enough creative scope for those who want it in terms of options for re-sizing and re-arranging images.
Once a story draft is complete, its a simple matter of tapping ‘publish’ and then your creation is available to other app users, or to anyone on the web via a unique URL. You may even be featured in Storehouse’s Story of the Day section.
During the visit, it was a real pleasure to be shown a whole series of education-related stories that have already been published via Storehouse on a range of topics from. A particular highlight is one that goes completely meta by being about the usefulness of Storehouse itself for learning…
Looking to the future, I’d have to say it is the newer Assignment section that Storehouse is building out that gets me most excited – I mean would you rather do an old standard school assignment, or create a Storehouse adventure assignment?
Thanks again to the Storehouse team for the visit, and for putting themselves out there to create the tool that they have.
> Read the Storehouse version of this article with all the images HERE
App Workflows: Download a free sample or the full version of my ‘iPad is not a PC’ iBook to learn more about constructing app workflows
SAMR Model: There are a wealth of SAMR resources available online – I’d suggest doing an image search to browse the great infographic options that are available.
Education-focused stories already published on Storehouse:
If you would like to discuss iPads and apps in education, feel free to drop me a line via my http://JNXYZ.Education site.
More information about the Apple Distinguished Educators program can be found here: