Evelyn decides to hide behind the rock. Go to page 27.
Evelyn charges at the dragon. Go to page 35.
The course of the story is dependent on your choices, and you can read the same story several times along varied paths, with different endings. Choose your adventure stories are great fun, and I always think, “I’d love to write one of these.”
Now, thanks to Inklewriter, I can. Inklewriter is a free online application created by Inkle, a Britsh company that produces games and interactive books. Inklewriter allows anyone with a basic repertoire of computer skills to create interactive books to read online or even (for a fee) export as a Kindle book. Take a look at their introduction—I found it easier to follow in full screen mode.
If you are intrigued, try the tutorial (click the “Get Started” link), or look at the interactive version of Frankenstein to begin to imagine the possibilities. Inklewriter also serves as a vehicle for story-based game design. I can hardly imagine a more motivating strategy for reluctant adolescent writers.
The Inkle website reaches out to teachers, but it seems to have barely scratched the surface of possibilities for student projects. You could use Inklewriter to teach/reinforce story structure, plot development and other core principles of storytelling, for either books or game design. But think about the options for other subject areas. Imagine a version of history in which one path follows actual events and another takes a different route. What about older students creating interactive science books for younger ones? There are few things that require more understanding of key ideas than explaining them to others. Of course, you can do any of these things without Inklewriter, with branching diagrams and index card arrangements. For younger students, that could be the way to start, but nothing quite beats the thrill of seeing your work online, looking professional.
I’m excited about the educational possibilities for Inklewriter. In looking for images for this post, I discovered that “inkle” refers to a type of weaving that is hundreds of years old. Somehow that seems particularly fitting for a company that will allow you to weave new adventures across content areas. Take a look, and share what you try. We’d love to hear about it—and I’ll bet the Inkle folks would, too.