Friday, November 24, 2006


See comments for review.


Sherri Cohen said...

According to its homepage, (, Storyspace is “a hypertext writing environment that…focuses on the process of writing, making it easy and pleasant to link, revise, and reorganize.” Storyspace, like Wikis and blogs, embraces the fact that knowledge can be horizontal as well as vertical and allows for continual exploration of topics. Storyspace allows users to create maps of ideas, helping writers visualize and manipulate their thoughts in new ways. Hypertext writing spaces can also include graphics and audio components. Text length can vary and Storyspace can accomodate large text entries for lengthy paper organization.

I believe that Storyspace lives up to its claims since it is a commonly used program with many successful stories in its bank. However, since the demonstration version does not come with a help menu, I was limited in the functions I could perform. I could not figure out how to advance beyond the initial stage of creating boxes of ideas and linking them together. Therefore, my personal review of the program is limited. The absence of even a basic help menu was quite off-putting. To access help, one would need to purchase the entire software. An educator must become well-versed in how to manipulate the software before he introduces it to his class. I also think that the fonts and small screen size make the software less user-friendly and more difficult to read.

Despite my own difficulties in using the software, the examples listed on the website show a number of ways in which Storyspace can be used in a variety of settings. Jonassen’s Mintools book also offers examples of Storyspace used in combination with other programs to create a large final product. I think the provided examples run the gamut of educational use, from drawing connections in art class to annotating reading passages with connections to the Internet for second language learners.

Storyspace is intended for classrooms of all ages, from elementary to Ph.D. students. Its homepage abounds with glowing testimonials from a wide variety of educators. From my experiences, I believe that Storyspace can be used by anyone who wants a basic introduction to hypermedia or anyone who just wants help writing. I would be wary of using this program with young children; I believe some of the features and manipulations might be too difficult for young children to understand and use properly. I would mainly use this program with older high school students. Storyspace can be useful in all sorts of secondary classrooms, especially those in which composition occurs (English and Social Studies in particular) because it allows you to plan out your thoughts in new ways. Since the School District of Philadelphia places importance upon using visual organizers, Storyspace is a high-tech way to help students achieve the District’s goals.

Storyspace does not require the user to have any other hardware than just a basic operating system. The Macintosh and Windows versions of Storyspace cost $295 each, with upgrades adding an additional $95 to the later total cost. There is a free version available for download on the website. While this version is certainly representative of the whole Storyspace software, it can only handle small files. The free version also does not include a help menu, making it difficult to navigate. An educator interested in long-term use of Storyspace should invest in the software itself.

Anonymous said...

Lovely! Very well-done! :)