Monday, March 18, 2013

Set Your Stories Free with Haiku Deck

Set Your Stories Free with Haiku Deck

by Susan Stephenson,

What I look for in iPad apps

I'm looking for iPad apps that kids can use in an educational way. Some will be free; some will be reasonably-priced. I'm particularly looking for apps that are fun, educational and family-friendly. Apps I love have great support, encourage learning, creativity or self-expression, are value-for-money and simple to use. I don't like apps that have aggressive ads and in-app purchases. It's the aggression I object to - an app developer needs to make money, but some are completely over-the-top.

What I like about Haiku Deck:

Haiku Deck puts its emphasis squarely on story. Their catch phrase is: "Set your stories free with Haiku Deck" and their logo is an origami paper crane. There's a wealth of meaning in both. It's not just an app for children - I can see how it would be useful in a huge range of situations. But it certainly has potential for educational use.

This is an elegant, polished and generous app. It's been well-designed with loads of features I appreciate. The free version is plenty for kids to create a story and set it free. I predict that teens who are into creative writing, particularly young poets, will enjoy the app as much as I do.

Basically, when you open Haiku Deck, you're presented with a Deck or presentation that you can customise to make your own. By doing this, kids will quickly learn how to use it. Edit the text, picture and theme that are already there for you in each slide. The default text has handy hints - simply delete and replace with your own text.

The magic of Haiku Deck lies in the images. Haiku Deck fetches CC licensed images for our presentations. It does this by asking us to suggest keywords. We can reject images, further refine keywords etc, until we're happy with an image. The image quality is high - images so beautiful can't help but inspire writing to match. Or we can import images from our own camera roll on our iPad. My sample Haiku Deck embedded below is a mix of images fetched by Haiku Deck and images from my camera roll.

The fact we can use the camera roll with Haiku Deck really does make it a more generally useful app than most, because it can be combined with our other apps. Kids can create the specific pictures they want to use in a drawing app, or use the iPad's built-in camera to capture images. Imagine the potential for class excursions or art lessons! They might use a comic editor to create individual frames and then pull those frames together with Haiku Deck. Haiku Deck is a superb way to create Haiku, Haiga or other poetry because it forces the creator to write tight. Because of the limit on text, it also excels as an accessible and simple presentation app.

Haiku Deck very much rings my bells with its support, too. CEO Adam Tratt is either a very savvy businessman, a passionate creator or both. He reaches out to individual Deckers and genuinely encourages feedback. The blog is useful, with videos to watch and clear, conversational text to explain. I admit I needed to watch the tutorial before I began. And you know what? These people have a sense of humour - recently they mocked up a Haiku Deck to show the new charts and graphs feature in Haiku Deck 2.0, and it maintained one of the reasons to work for their company was Pie!

Other features I like are all the sharing options: you can email a deck, convert your deck to a powerpoint, share it via social media, make it public or private by choosing settings, or get an embed code for a blog. If you make your deck public, you can get a link to its place in the Haiku Deck gallery. People don't need to have an iPad to see it.

Haiku Deck does have in-app purchases. You get five free themes, and extra themes cost around $1.99 each, or $15.99 for the lot. This is not intrusive and the developers haven't crippled the free version. I am not sure at this stage if I will go on to the paid version, but I suspect I will. Haiku Deck is an addictive way of creating story.

Haiku Deck on iTunes
Haiku Deck Education Case Studies on Pinterest

If you're interested in other iPad apps I recommend, check out:
Night Zookeeper Drawing Torch
Strip Designer
Or take a look at my Pinterest board for iPad apps I think sound interesting.


  1. Haiku Deck sounds brilliant. (I even like that logo!) Adding it to my list of apps to try out.
    ~ Rebecca

  2. @soupblog
    The logo impressed me too - it really captures the spirit of setting a story free and sharing it with the world.

  3. Hi Susan!
    Thank you so much for being a part of our creative community and for writing about Haiku Deck! We definitely agree that our app has potential for educational use -- you can check out our Education Case Studies board on Pinterest to see all the great ways educators are using it:
    Keep the great decks coming!
    Lisa from Team Haiku Deck

  4. @Lisa MaThanks for mentioning the Pinterest board of examples, Lisa. I've added it to my post, above.


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