Every year, educational software suppliers 2Simple surprise and delight classroom teachers and advisers at the BETT educational technology show with classic programs for the classroom and beyond. BETT 2009 is no exception as teachers welcome the newest hit from the 2Simple creative hothouse - 2D It Yourself.
It does what it says on the tin - supports teachers and pupils in creating engaging classroom materials at the simple click of a mouse. Anything from simple "dress Teddy" activities to animated computer games. The 2Simple team has worked hard to migrate all its products to the web. So whether a teacher needs software stored on a hard disc or the network, or that works in a browser, 2Simple can provide. As schools start to adopt vitural learning environments (VLEs), which favour software that works through a browser, this is a major achievement.
Like the company’s previous products, this new generation of tools promotes creative activity sharing between pupils and teachers and their respective peers but is ramped up by the collaborative potential of Web 2.0. They can be used on any VLE (sometimes requiring tweaking from 2Simple as VLEs are not as compatible as their proponents would have you believe). The result is that and existing customers will continue to enjoy some of the simplest and most effective classroom software tools available, while being able to tap into the new online tools that can also be used by children at home. They get these for a nominal community charge.
First off the online starting block is 2Simple’s Online Creative Tools, which include the classic 2Paint, 2Publish, 2Animate Lite and 2Go programs. In addition is 2Design & Make that, by using 3D templates, allows early years through to key stage 2 pupils to design and decorate their own houses and create forms of transport like cars and buses. Once they’ve mastered using the templates provided they could move on to create their own “net” templates by adding and dragging anchor points on a 2D screen. The design is updated as they go along so pupils can see how their ideas shape up. After decorating using the painting tools their creations can be printed ready to cut out and stick together to perhaps facilitate role-playing at a later time away from the computer.
Stealing the limelight, however, is 2Do It Yourself, which puts the user in control of creating personalised resources or Flash games. The only limit to creativity with 2Do It Yourself is the imagination but the first activities to be templated include puzzles, drag and drop activities, quizzes and multiple choice questions and platform games. Children as young as five can revel in being able to devise, write instructions for, test and share their own inventions. Once created, files can be used on the whiteboard or uploaded to a learning platform or emailed for use on a PDA.
2Simple French comes from the premise that it takes, on average, 15 repetitions to learn a word in a foreign language and provides various activities for reinforcing vocabulary work. As support for the non-specialist primary teacher, it covers the first two years of the QCA scheme of work and employs a French-speaking robot to encourage children to learn correct pronunciation by listening and watching how its lips move. There are 12 units with more than 200 activities and interactive games based on topics such as my family, animals, food and weather.
This migration is a wise move for 2Simple because the online tools should bring in a new tranche of customers who want to work on the web rather than use software on the school network or desktops. They will get their software updates and developments immediately without having to wait for local installations.