I’ve been spending the last couple of days trying out the beta version of 2Simple Software’s fantastic new innovative program: 2 Create a SuperStory. And, without wanting to sound too cheesy (okay – maybe a bit), I have to say it really is super! My plan was to try it out in a number of ICT sessions this week to see what the children made of it but, with schools everywhere shut down because of the snow, I had to look closer to home. So I went and got some of the grandchildren!
My older grandchildren are all well used to using a number of applications by 2Simple and the beauty of it really is in the way one product links so easily into another. All of the children immediately recognised elements in the layout they could relate to. Leon, the eldest at 5 years old, immediately commented ‘Oh cool – it looks like 2Publish’ (his favourite application to use at school), and, straight away, they were ready to investigate.
We started with the Simple setting: this was Leon’s choice and I believe it was because it looked most familiar. Firstly we just played around with the different elements (accompanied by lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ and ‘cooooool’) and then we were ready to have a proper go at a story. Leon chose the topic ‘night time animals’ (his latest class theme) and we started by drawing the background. Because the selection of tools was similar to 2Publish Leon had no problem doing this. He decided what would be needed in the picture (moon, starts, tree, etc.) and used the shape option from the right hand side of the screen to create stars and a moon (as shown below).
Leon found it really easy to drag the animated effects he wanted into the timeline (although he did, occasionally, get a bit carried away when he realised he could put more than one in each box!) and was totally absorbed by what he was doing. He also loved the fact he could create a shape and easily copy and paste it to save him drawing and animating it more than once. He also liked the way he could flip his objects (when you click the link below you’ll see how he used it to make the 2 foxes) and the way the templates made the process ‘easy, peasy, lemon squeezy’. The whole time he was at the computer his younger sister was clamouring to have a go – just looking at what her brother was doing was getting her excited!
Eventually Leon relented and let his sister join in the fun. In fact, at one point, their mum and aunt also started to chip in suggestions (most of which the children dismissed!). You can see their finished project here.
As soon as we’d finished the collaborative projects Leon was keen to have a go on his own (with a little support). Feeling more confident he chose to create a landscape book which had an ‘under the sea’ theme (really he just wanted to try out the fish template as he hadn’t used that one yet). He spent a great deal of time perfecting his story, and was particularly fussy getting the creatures just right.
Leon spent well over an hour creating the story. Spellings were written down on bits of paper. Suggestions on how to improve his work were continually met with ‘I know – I can do it myself’ and he seemed to revel in the process of working different bits out for himself (although he still occasionally asked grudgingly for support). He liked the fact that his finished story book looked like a proper book, with pages that turned and a back cover (he thought it would have blank pages at the back).
On through the afternoon he continued to try things out (2CASS was ‘too good’ for his younger sister). He had a go at creating something totally independently and returned to the computer (after a bit of tea) to try something different. One of the things he missed (when compared to 2Publish and 2Paint a picture) were the range of tools and brushes available to create backgrounds (although he appreciated the animation more than made up for it). So, after working out he could import images in, he created his own background in 2Paint a Picture. Leon decided this was a perfect solution: he could use the same background again if he wanted too in a different story! I like the way he called everything a story: many of his ‘stories’ were more linked to his science or humanities work at school. On final effort, although only utilising one page, Leon really pushed himself and was really pleased with the result. As was I!
If one child, in one day, can get this much fun and inspiration from 2Create a Superstory as Leon did(and his sister when she was allowed near the computer) I just know it’s going to be a huge hit with teachers and pupils everywhere. The opportunies for linking activities to the curriculum are vast and teachers could easily use the program for creating attractive looking resources and teaching tools. Incidentally another grandson (aged 4 but nearly 5) has also given 2CASS a big thumbs up! With a little help he created this Welsh language book in no time at all and really enjoyed doing it too!