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Simple way to bring a story to life

2Create Primary multimedia software Single user pound;49 (extra user Pounds 25); five users pound;99; 10 users pound;199; site licence pound;299 2Simple Educational Software Tel: 020 8203 1781 Email:

An innovative software program from 2Simple, 2Create, allows children at key stages 1 and 2 to plan and produce their own multimedia projects, including interactive books, talking stories, presentations, slide shows, websites and much more.

They can combine text, pictures, sounds and on-screen linking buttons to create their own talking books or interactive projects. They link pages together using simple buttons (also known as hyperlinks), or use them to add actions to their pictures. Each page can be viewed individually or all the pages can be shown in outline. As is usual with 2Simple's software, short videos and support files are included to show teachers and pupils exactly how to achieve their aims.

How does all this differ from many of the other authoring packages available to schools? For one thing, 2Create is written by a practising teacher, and it shows. It has been designed to ensure children understand the key concepts, structures and processes involved.

You can look at an overview of the whole project, with each page represented by a box. Hyperlinks between pages are created by clicking on one of these boxes with the mouse, dragging it over to another box and letting go of the button. It's as simple as that.

This allows teachers and pupils to plan multimedia projects in the way they might plan a concept or Mind Map. Creating a hyperlink in traditional multimedia programs has always been a bit awkward, often involving unnecessarily technical language and complex dialogue boxes.

With 2Create, if you want to bring your story to life, simply click on your drawing (or an object you want to animate) and choose a direction, speed and behaviour from a menu box. A few seconds later, whatever you drew or selected will be carrying out the actions picked on the screen.

In a 2Simple demonstration, a fish that had been drawn swam back and forth across the screen, even weaving in and out of reeds that were also drawn while we watched. You can import or record your own sound, add video or digital images or choose from more than 1,000 pieces of appealing curriculum-based clip-art created by 2Simple.

Want to show your completed project at home, or to another school? Just export it as html (web-page format), or use the free player to share your ideas. Want to make a slide-show presentation instead of an interactive project? Two clicks and you're there.

Creativity is alive and well. With 2Simple's latest gem children have an extraordinary tool to express themselves with. Learners are able to show you how their ideas fit together and quickly turn them into reality. I just wish that I had had 2Create recently when I was trying to explain to a Year 6 class what hyperlinks are and how they work. It does exactly what it claims, and really is simple to use. It oozes quality and it's terrific value for money - buy it!

Chris Drage is Cisco Academy manager at the Excellence in Cities Action Zone and an ICT support and advisory teacher inBrent, London

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