Creating Interactive Stories

One popular activity that students enjoy is the Interactive story form known as “Create Your Own Adventure”.  I’m sure that most people have fond memories of working your way through one or two.  You read a paragraph or two and then you’re presented with options for where to go next.  One branch takes your story in one direction or another branch takes you in another.

If you go back far enough in computer gaming, you may remember the role playing game Zork where you explore an imaginary universe with commands like “GO WEST”.  I worked with an annoying person who felt compelled to repeat over and over “WHEN YOU COME TO A FORK IN THE ROAD, TAKE IT”.

inklewriter is a free online tool that lets you create your own interactive story.  Rather than creating a contrived example, click here to try a real story!  In this case, “The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle”

inklewriter is very easy to work.  Features include branching and looping, including images, and formatting of your works.  The interface, web-based, makes for easy creation of your story.

But, it would be very easy to get lost in the story with all the branching!  To make this understandable, a Map option displays an overview of your story.

In that respect, inklewriter is a wonderful tool to take a task that we might normally do and moves it to the world of the electronic.  I was wondering…could it be used in other ways?

Driving through town last night, I noticed a sign for Grade 8 orientation night at the local secondary school.  Lights went on.  What about a “Create your own adventure” to tour the school?!

For example, entering my old school would look something like this.  I could create a little adventure just exploring the school.  I’m starting to really like this.  I wonder…

As you’re editing and creating your story, not only do you add text and branches, remember I said that you could add images?  Why not include images of the rooms or artifacts that you might see along the way?  And, if we can do that, we could certainly insert a QR code linking to oh, say a YouTube video interviewing a teacher or student at a particular location?

inklewriter is a very easy powerful creating environment.  The website even includes an offer to convert your story to an e-book for a small fee.

I could see this as a very motivating and exciting tool for young authors.  Give it a shot and see if you don’t agree.

Truffles for Financial Literacy


In Grades 4 through 8, Ontario students and teachers address expectations dealing with financial literacy.  In the Ministry document, there are some suggestions about how to integrate the literacy concepts across all subject areas.  To spice things up, you can’t beat a good simulation and The Great Piggy Bank Adventure fits the ticket nicely.

This simulation/game is all online and your bank is your personal piggy bank that follows you through all of the activities.  Start with a single game or in small groups of up to four users.  Choose your character and you’re off!

Of course, any financial planning involves setting goals and so you choose your goal right off.  The currency is truffles and you can’t eat them so you’re good to go.  As you earn truffles, they get plunked into your piggy bank and you move on through your virtual world, very nicely drawn.

Roll a die and your character moves along the path to adventures where there are financial activities and decisions ahead of you.

One of the options is Choose or Lose.  Various random things happen as you play the game.  You’ll need to make decisions along the way.  The results may generate truffles for you or cost you to be a player.  Some of the activities deal with being a good citizen.  I like how that is woven through the game.

You do have opportunities to spend your truffles along the way.  The developers also have build in some smile generation activities for the teacher like the “Howl of Inflation”.

I easily had some success playing the game because, as my kids will tell you, I’m the ultimate in frugal at times and my tendency was to cheap out when faced with decisions.  The alternatives to spend are there and I could see students balancing fun with saving.  In groups, I’m sure that it would generate lots of discussion.

In addition to Choose or Lose, quizzes pop up after some moves to test your financial decision making.  As you’ll see above, not only can you save your truffles, but also dig a little deeper investigating the topic at hand.

Eventually, you’ll reach the end of the path.  If you’ve made wise decisions along the way….

And also collect some badges showing your achievements.  A little video game action between the simulations brings a little pure play into the process but you can’t play unless you get through the level successfully.

You can play the game in an entire setting or create a Disney account to save progress rather than start from scratch next time.

If you’re looking for an interesting simulation for your financial literacy section, bookmark it and check it out.