I’m a big fan of 2Simple‘s software… this week alone, my Year 3 pupils have used:
- 2Connect to make mind maps showing their existing knowledge of Italy at the start of the topic.
- 2Paint a Picture to design logos for an Italian restaurant business that they have been challenged to create for their ICT work (with “Dragon’s Den” style presentations at the end of the unit!).
- 2DIY to make snow-themed computer games (read more in this post).
Another of my favourite 2Simple programs is 2Create a Story which I’ve used with children from Year 2 up to Year 6. It lets you make stories / books which can include text, pictures, animation and audio. This version of ‘George and the Dragon’ by Ashia in Year 2 gives you an idea of what can be achieved in a very short space of time. Click on the image below to view the story:
All of the children I have used it with have really enjoyed the tasks set. However, some of the older children wanted to try things that the software wasn’t capable of, e.g. moving individual characters within an image or having sequences of actions taking place.
2Simple has taken this kind of feedback into account and have developed ‘2Create a Super Story’ which has improved upon the previous version of the software considerably. I have been lucky enough to try out the software before the release and I’m really impressed by its potential. Lots of new options have been added to the main menu allowing children (and teachers) to make different types of books… and that’s an important thing to remember. This software isn’t limited to making stories – you can create a wide range of interactive texts covering all types of genres.
Within each of these options, the familiar 2Simple creative tools are available. You can switch between the simple pens (shown below left) and the more advanced drawing tools (show below right), to adapt the software for the age and ability of your pupils.
- Draw your own pictures as a background image.
- Import / Paste images from other sources (e.g. your own photos, pictures from a web cam, and images found online).
- Create objects, which can play a more active role within the text. The picture below shows the different types of template that are available for these objects (on the left). Within each of these sections, there are a range of templates, e.g. in the animal section, there are templates for a dog / cat / four legged creature, birds, fish, snakes and dinosaurs! When you choose one of these, a basic outline is given, which children then have to add colour and detail to.
You now have much more control over each of these objects. You can set them to move from one place to another, hide from view, change size, rotate… and much more. These actions can occur at particular points within a timeline, or you can make the user click the mouse button to make the object ‘act’ (giving the potential for much more interactive ‘stories’).
Sadly I haven’t been able to give any children the chance to use the software (yet). However, after spending time using it myself, I’m starting to see it as a fantastic resource-creation tool for teachers. I know that 2Create a SuperStory is designed with children in mind, but adults can easily make interactive texts for children in their class by using the program. Upon saving, SWF files are automatically created which can be embedded onto a school website or a VLE to support the children’s learning both in the classroom and at home.
The current topic in my class is ‘Italy’, so I created some resources which I know that I can (and will) be using with my own pupils. Here’s an example of a non-fiction text that I created using the ‘Reference’ option. Browse through the pages slowly to see the different interactive features that have been set. Click on the image to view the story:
I love the way that you can add these interactive elements to make children engage with the content more actively. Here’s another example… a story that was created using the ‘Aged’ setting:
I could play this story full-screen on our interactive whiteboard, showing the photos (taken during my honeymoon last year!) and discussing the places shown. Alternatively, this could be posted on our school site and I could set related tasks as part of a homework activity. Brilliant!
There are lots more options within the software that I haven’t had time to explore yet. There’s an ‘Augmented Reality’ feature which I’m keen to try out too. For a preview of how this (or something similar might work), watch this Youtube video.
After playing for only a few hours, I can see huge potential in ‘2Create a SuperStory’ and I would love to be able to install it throughout our school network for the children (and the teachers) to use!