Using non-linear stories to gamify your books

Adam FosterCase study, Education, History, ProTips

Idea: make use of hyperlinks in Book Creator and see students’ imaginations come to the fore when they create interactive books. 

Book Creator was one of the first apps we installed on our school iPads in 2011 and we have gone on to use it across the whole of Key Stage 1 and 2. This has included Year 6 creating illustrated audio children’s stories for Year 1 pupils to read and review, DT Animal Shelter Evaluation ebooks showing progression and Numeracy Vocabulary Dictionaries to to help revision.

Interactive adventure stories

Adding a hyperlink to a page in Book CreatorThis term I have been working on a project with Year 6 to create interactive adventure stories using Book Creator.

The objective was two-fold, firstly to develop literacy skills, but also as an activity linked with the World War 1 100 Years Week that the school recently undertook. The idea was conceived when using the page hyperlink tool with Year 5 who were using them to create a contents page for their Space Fact ebooks. In this case though the links would go to different parts of the story as decided by the reader.

To link text to a page, you select it within a text box and this brings up a link option where you can put in either the page number or a web address. To link images, select the image and tap the i in the top right corner, again this brings up the option to add a page number or website.

Let the reader choose their path

First I created a small interactive book myself, basing it around a short medieval quest. The reader could choose their character and I presented one scenario with 3 possible choices.

Each option would take the reader to a different part of the book. I was careful not to provide too many ideas in this book because I did not want to box in the pupils’ creativity. Also I chose not to make a book about World War 1 for the same reason.

Adam's interactive adventure book

I showed the pupils my book, demonstrated how to link text/images to other pages and then we brainstormed ideas for their World War 1 versions.

Quickly the boys wanted their books to be based around violent scenes but I stressed the importance of a storyline and plot. Therefore, the class came up with ideas such as allowing the reader to choose between a civilian, soldier or child at the beginning of the story. Some pupils also jotted down ideas before they started in Book Creator.

Student brainstorming ideas
What quickly struck me about this task was the engagement all the pupils had and the number of ideas that were explored.

The game design aspect also helped develop the creativity within pupils who may have previously struggled with this in a Literacy lesson. Scenarios included decision making when the air raid siren is heard and also storylines that overlapped.

A student's interactive WW1 book

The importance of characterisation became apparent as pupils had to think carefully not only about the different situations a person would find themselves but also what would go through the mind of that particular character, such as a nurse having to look after wounded soldiers.

What we’re doing next

Our next task is to create short adverts for the books and also ask some of the younger pupils to read them and provide feedback. I am also keen to explore some more of the possibilities of making interactive books in Book Creator, such as for assessment and providing feedback to pupils.

Adam Foster is an experienced Primary School Teacher who teaches across Key Stage 1 and 2, as well as co-ordinating ICT at a Preparatory School in Wolverhampton, UK.

He has been using iPads in his teaching for the past 4 years and also supports schools around the UK and Europe with integrating mobile technology into the curriculum.

Adam is a Book Creator Ambassador and has shared numerous teaching resources via his app iLearn2.

11 Comments on “Using non-linear stories to gamify your books”

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  4. do you need to have the paid app to make this work? I have the free app? Do you have a YouTube video tutorial?

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