2Simple Software released an iPad version of their popular 2DIY software this summer. Here is my review of it:
Learning should fun - if you want to get children: excited, eager and keen to learn then you've got to present it to them in a way that is both interesting and appealing. The new 2Do It Yourself (2DIY) iPad app from 2Simple Software makes this possible by letting children design their own on-screen interactive: activities, quizzes and games for others to play.
The wide range of template styles from the popular PC version are all here for the children to choose from which allow them to create their own resources with. These can be suited to many different purposes, such as to test a player's knowledge of a topic or to challenge them to complete a specific task. They are grouped into three categories and on loading the app you are asked to select what type of resource you would like to produce:
- Activities involve the player having to drag-and-drop items on the screen – such as to dress a character or to complete a virtual jigsaw puzzle.
- Quizzes test the player’s knowledge of a particular topic – such as in the form of multiple-choice questions or in a labelling task.
- Games are fun ways to help reinforce understanding of a particular topic and involve the player having to control an on-screen character around an environment to collect objects whilst trying to avoid the baddies.
The app gives children a clear and intuitive interface for designing each type of resource and it lets them use: the painting tools in the app, the device's camera and/or a large collection of clip art which is provided (handily grouped into different themes) to illustrate it nicely.
Each activity also has a number of elements which can be tweaked so that more confident children can be challenged extend their creations further and make their work appear more: attractive, entertaining and challenging to play (e.g. putting an instruction screen at the start, adding sound effects when different things happen, setting a time limit in which an activity must be completed in or adding animation effects to objects in a game to make them easier/harder to collect/avoid). This makes it easy for teachers to differentiate the design work and ensure that every child in a lesson can access the app at a level appropriate for them.
There are many opportunities for meaningful learning in the app as it lets children: design, create, test, edit, improve, publish and play their own activities. They aren't consuming content made by others - they are making their own personalised resources by themselves which meet their own individual needs and requirements.
By giving children the chance to create such engaging content so easily, the cross-curricular opportunities for its use are immense and it could be used to enhance learning in many subjects - e.g. by: testing recall of history facts, asking maths calculation questions, labelling geography maps, consolidating scientific understanding etc.
In summary, 2DIY is a great piece of software that should promote independence and creativity in primary classrooms and should inspire children to become keen game-designers - something which is especially significant at a time when the value of having good computing skills is more important than ever. Indeed, from my experience of using the app in lessons, children are always extremely motivated and focused when working on it. It is amazing to see the quality of the resources which they can build in a matter of minutes and it is always enjoyable to watch everyone share their learning and the finished creations with each other at the end.
I strongly believe that it will have a big impact in any lesson it is used in because it lets children create so many exciting, educational resources with and is so fun and simple to use - I couldn't recommend it highly enough!