COMPUTER CORNER

Reviewed by
Bill Gillespie and Rosemary McDowall

It is interesting to see how mobile devices have made software companies redefine themselves. Adobe is a well-known creator of industry-leading programs such as Photoshop, InDesign and Acrobat are large and complex pieces of software that take quite a while to master. Most apps are small and easy to use. Now Adobe is starting to bring its programming expertise to the app marketplace. A recent addition was the free story-creating program, Adobe Voice, available from the App Store.

When you open up Adobe Voice for the first time you are greeted with the Welcome video which gives a brief overview of the process involved in creating a story. There are tutorials available; in practice, however, few people will really need to view them – the program is that easy to use.

Your audio-recorded story can be augmented with text, images and icons.

When you start to create a story the app asks: “What is the story about?”, and once you enter the title and click “Next” you can pick a structure from the inbuilt templates. You can share an invitation, explain something, show and tell, promote an idea, tell what happened, share a moment or even create your own story. As you scroll through the templates a small description of each example is shown at the bottom of the screen. If you have writer’s block you can touch the words, “Want inspiration?” at the bottom of the screen and be given a number of story starters to get you on your way.

Having picked the template for your story you are ready to begin. It is important to differentiate between a story template and a theme for the story. A story template dictates the type of pages contained within the story e.g. title page etc. while the theme for the story dictates the colours used for the story. At the top of the screen there is also a layout button so that you can change the look of each page within the story.

To begin your story, start dictating and recording it. When you finish, you can preview the result to make sure there are no mistakes. We would have to say that the clarity of the recording is excellent.

Then select an “icon” to add to the page. The icon can be an icon, a photo, or even text. Icons are more like clip art and there are thousands on the database. When you choose the photo you are given the option to search for a photo, take a picture, find a photo on your iPad or download a picture from Creative Cloud, Facebook or Dropbox.

A nice option was the ability to have a music soundtrack playing in the background of your story. Once you have finished that page you use the same process on other pages until you have finished your story.

With the story finished you upload your story, and then choose to share your story or keep it private. Unfortunately the sharing capacity is a little limited at this stage as the story runs on Adobe’s own servers. So you can copy a link, share on Facebook, share on Twitter or share by email.

This is a great app that is simple enough to be used by kindergarten students yet powerful enough for teachers.

Software reviewed by Rosemary McDowall and Bill Gillespie. Bill teaches at Manly Village PS and Rosemary at The Forest High. Bill is an Adobe Educational Leader. They can be contacted at computer_corner2000@yahoo.com.