I have always been a big fan of the Nosey Crow interactive book/apps like the beautifully adapted Little Red Riding Hood.
The amazing graphics are spellbinding and the interactive playfulness draws adults and children alike into the fairy story world. Mum looks like Nigella Lawson (no bad thing) and the wolf isn’t too scary, as it is managed with child’s voice. There is humour in abundance like the tango dance/chase sequence in bedroom. The user can help Little Red Riding Hood escape by swiping the character. For some young learners this could be quite a traumatic scene, but the Nosey Crow people pitch and direct the scene so well.
Schools don’t have to buy this app for every device, just the teacher’s iPad. There are times when sharing a whole class experience can be managed effectively and appropriately with just one device. With these interactive books and wireless mirroring the book can be presented and enjoyed by the whole class. The whole class can even participate (using Reflector, Air Server or Apple TV) if the iPad is a passed around the class.
As a starting point for developing our own stories, the Nosey Crow book opens up some interesting creative possibilities.
The map for example, gives us a 1st person, godlike, narrative overview of the structure of the story and its possible permutations. Story maps are really helpful ways to understand a narrative.
Crucially, the scenes are hyper-linked. This can be easily emulated in pupil friendly apps like, Book Creator or even Apple’s Keynote. These interactive, non-linear, narratives could begin life on paper, or on cards that we sequence to build up our own structure e.g. introduction, development, complication, climax and resolution. Mind mapping apps like Popplet would also be useful.
The characters could be given choices within the story and by using hyperlinks different narrative possibilities could evolve.
So how do we create these links in Book Creator and Keynote?
In Book Creator we can select text in the text editor by and create links to content on the web or pages within the book.
Simply double tap the word that you want to be a hyper link and move the “pins” to highlight the word or phrase.
Simply add the page number of the book that you want link to.
Hyperlinks will be highlighted in blue when you leave the editor.
Likewise, an image can also be a hyperlink. Select the image by tapping on it.
Of course the Keynote app won’t produce an interactive eBook, but you could easily create an interactive kiosk type experience. Links can be added to text or objects such as shapes. Tap on tools to access “interactive links”
You’ll see the blue bar appear in the background (as it does when adding transitions) and now you can add the destination for the link.
Both of these approaches are in many ways “old school” ICT skills that support sequencing/logic that in turn supports computational thinking. So there is a nice Literacy/Computing moment!
Keynote offers the ability to delete back grounds and combine images, so students and other characters can appear in locations beyond the classroom. So here we have a background image and a foreground image in Keynote.
Using the Instant Alpha tool we can delete the background of the top image. Select the image and then select the paintbrush tool. Tap on “Image” and “Instant Alpha”.
Gently drag your favourite iPad finger across the background of the image to “drop it” out of the image.
It takes a little effort and patience. With care you will be able to make a clean selection and hide all the top image’s background, enabling it to sit more effectively in the picture.
You will find that students become quickly adept at this.
To finish this post, I though I’d share a kind of cool workflow that uses free 3D characters and explores combining in a narrative. Some people call this “app smashing” – I really don’t like that term. “Workflow” is far more refined and meaningful 😉
The 3D Creatures app that I am using does allow the combining of images but they are always in portrait. These images can be combined with real world setting too. For example….
…and even in the staffroom.
Here’s how to set the images up in Creatures 123. Note – I am selecting the small blue nodes to adjust the character’s limbs.
Some final thoughts, of course stories don’t have to be interactive. The language and the structures that the children create here are the real focus. Here the apps and the process engage and excite, creating a real opportunity to develop written work. Stories can easily be published onto the web using Adobe Voice, and embedded in the class blog. The possibilities are endless.
Whilst Little Red Riding Hood is £2.99. All of the other apps used here are free. Yep Free!
Book Creator (the free version) Most schools buy this and have it as a key part of their creative tool kit
Keynote is free with recently purchased iPads
Epic Citadel (an oldy but goody) is free
123D Creature Show is free