Creating stories with Mayfly Workshop


‘Sometimes getting those ideas down with a Mayfly first, makes it easier. Just going straight from your head to paper means that a lot of ideas get lost in the whole thing of getting worried about your writing…in a way the Mayfly takes the pressure off, so you can put your ideas onto the Mayfly first, take your time over it, then transfer that into writing’  Emma Evans, Teacher

The idea of writing can be a daunting task for some, so with the help of Arts Council England we are running a series of workshops designed for students with dyslexia, in order to generate ideas for an activity book which uses Mayfly to help create stories. The book will be suitable for dyslexic learners but also fun and accessible for all.

As part of research and development for the main workshops, we recently worked with a group of kids between 8 and 11, to explore creating narratives and characters with the use of Mayfly: recording their stories rather than writing them down.

It was fascinating how one quick demo of the app was enough: two of the girls, having never used it before, demonstrated with ease to a latecomer. Technology is intrinsic to the way they have been brought up and they felt instantly comfortable using it. (They proved as great user testers for the app!) Their excitement and engagement with Mayfly was lovely to see when we explained how we were going to use it.

As a warm up, we got them to create one word stories, then one sentence stories as a large group. Then they split into pairs and created a story with five sections to it. The sentence starters helped form a narrative with description, a climax and a resolution.

  • Once upon a time
  • Every day
  • But then suddenly one day
  • Because of that
  • Finally

We provided them with objects and instruments for them to make sound effects with, which proved to capture their imagination: the stories informed the types of sound and the sounds influenced the narrative.

We had some fantastic feedback and ideas at the end of the workshop for what Mayfly could be used for:

‘I like that there’s not pre-set sound effects, rather than making us use the app for everything, we had to make the sounds. It’s really encouraging, we weren’t all glued to the screen’

‘It’s a fun alternative for people like me who wouldn’t write in a diary’

‘It was fun because we all took part in it. If you were doing that on your own it wouldn’t be as exciting, because you didn’t know what was going to happen’

‘I think it will help people who can’t always express it in words, they can show it’

‘Because you had to portray it in sound, that was cool!’

‘On each page of a book, could be a Mayfly sticker, so if you can’t read yet, you could scan and listen to someone reading it’

‘You could have Mayflys all around your town, or in a venue and you could work in groups and look for them, like a treasure hunt’

 - Alison Cowling

Barney Heywood