On Google Teacher Tribe Podcast last week, I heard about a Google Docs Add-On called Story Speaker. In the description on the show and on the Add-On page, it was said to be for making choose-your-own-adventure style stories that connect with Google Assistant to be read aloud and choices made through voice. I remember the Goosebumps Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books from my childhood, so I was instantly excited.
I love story telling (see NaNoWriMo, my book, my podcast…), so while that feature in of itself seems cool, I started thinking about ways to implement it in classrooms. Today, I spent a lot of time playing with Story Speaker (and by “a lot of time” I mean my entire work day).
Overall: IT IS AMAZING!!
First of all, there is absolutely no coding required. The system is entirely based on levels of indent. If you indent a level, it knows that the previous level is looking for a response. How you phrase the bolded text on the next line is what it is looking for.
Story Speaker provides templates as well (see the green and purple buttons on the right side of screenshot above), so all you have to do is change out the text to make your own story.
Once you’re done, you have a few different output options. One of them lets you run a demo version on the same window. All you do is click “Play Your Story” and click “Play Story.” And that’s it.
You can also click another button to throw it to your own Google Home or play on your mobile device as well with Google Assistant.
But telling stories isn’t the goal. The real goal is to use it in the classroom. The way I’m doing that now is making a test using the tool. My students are student tech support, so I am building out a test in which they respond verbally to a read scenario that occurs regularly. See the example below.
This is something that my students deal with regularly, but I think they forget basics too, so it’s important that they’re reminded.
I can also imagine this being used for something like a lab. You can build out the program so that it gives the directions step by step, and they have to reply with the current result before it will provide the next step. It is really easy to make it a text-based chat, which would be better in that case. You can click this link here to see what I’m talking about. Type anything in the box to start it.
I will be playing with this a lot more in the next week to build some more features into it. I feel like this tool has a LOT of power, and I will share out as I do more.
Thank you so much Kasey and Matt for this info! It has me really excited!