BEWARE and WARNING
This book is different from other books.
You and YOU ALONE are in charge of what happens in this story.
There are dangers, choices, adventures and consequences. YOU must use all of your numerous talents and much of your enormous intelligence. The wrong decision could end in disaster — even death. But, don’t despair. At anytime, YOU can go back and make another choice, alter the path of your story, and change its result.
I enjoyed making my own Choose Your Own Adventure stories and then sharing them with friends and parents. Jump 30 years forwards and now children are given the opportunity to create their own Choose your own Adventure stories with sophisticated tools which can help them plan and write their stories and finally publish them online for the whole world as their reading audience.
I discovered Inklewriter after being at a presentation by Dr Reuben Puentedura on how the Edtech Quintet, used in conjunction with the SAMR model and TPCK can help redefine learning through the use of technology. Dr Puentedura recommended a web app called Twinery which allowed children to very simply create non-linear stories.
I played around with Twinery, and discovered it has many amazing features. Its main GUI is very easy to navigate, with a map outlining the story and each new choice and following path being represented by separate boxes and links.
Of course, I realised the great potentional in education for creating non-linear stories, so I started searching for an alternative. This search led me to the web app Inklewriter. The creators of Inklewriter came from gaming backgrounds and had originally devised the code to let them write their own stories and publish them online. They saw the benefit of this code and decided to release it for free use online.
Inklewriter has a lovely GUI making it very easy to navigate and provides different ways of viewing your story line. You can view each section (choice) of your story in a linear fashion, have an overview of the entire story, or a table of contents.
Finally, when the story is shared online it looks like a real book which I think is very important for children who are beginning to write stories, as it gives them a sense of accomplishment and lets them feel as though their writing is as worthy of being read as any other published piece. Sharing the story also incorporates the social element of Dr Puentedura’s quintet, thus further redefining a simple writing task.
When looking at the map of the story, it is easy to see that in essence the children are creating storylines based on the “if this then that” coding function. Therefore one could argue that non-linear stories are also another way of introducing coding to children, and if that is considered too far a leap to make, we have to admit that it certainly reinforces logical thinking.
There are so many educational possibilities for this web app that I would highly recommend teachers interested in adding a gaming or social element to their writing tasks to explore the website.
For an in depth comparison between Twinery and Inklewriter I recommend reading this post by Emily Short.
For more information on Dr Puentedura’s Edtech Quintet I would recommend visiting his page: Edtech Quintet
They do have an alternative app, called ink, which allows still allows the writer to create a choose your own adventure style story, however it is heavily script based, and it also requires you to download it to your computer.
If teachers decide to use Twine2 with younger students I would recommend walking through the simple tutorial with them, to get a feel on how to add multiple paths. Once the students have completed their story, they can simply press the play button to see their story online.
Until I can find an easier alternative, i think I will be sticking to Twine2 for now.