Thursday, February 16, 2017

Book Creator: It's Really That Good!

Talking with high school students about app use, I have noticed a trend. They are not using Book
Creator in class all that often. While many of the teachers working with younger students swear by Book Creator, it still has not caught on at upper grades.

With its flexibility as a tool that can compliment and support teaching and learning, let me make the case for why it is worth your time to explore more deeply.

Purpose for Using Book Creator

The primary use for the Book Creator app is to bring together different elements into a single document. While the app title might indicates it is for "book" creation, think of it more as a tool students (and staff) use to hold and organize a wide variety of digital content in one place.

The ease of use of Book Creator is apparent from the moment you open the app. New users can easily pick up on the primary tools in the app and can develop a quality product quickly. 

However, despite its ease of use there is so much potential for students and staff to create really meaningful products. There are many different elements that can be placed in a Book Creator project. The graphic (at left) shows the wide variety of digital elements that can be added to any Book Creator project.

A quote from a bilingual educator at the high school level, "I have used Book Creator of late with the beginning ESL class, and have to say that I have been loving it!  They are writing, using better and more correct grammar, and then by adding the  sound they are attending more to precision in their speaking too!  And, fun as well when they upload the books as videos that we then play in class!" 

Dynamic Projects

When the items are all placed on the page, an otherwise flat project can come to life. The project becomes dynamic and interactive. Students can share their thinking in a medium that suits their talents and learning styles. You can listen to them as they explain their thinking, and you can see their annotations, drawings, photos, and videos. 

Additionally, students get to make important design choices about how they present what they have learned. From colorful backgrounds to font changes to comic book layouts (pictured at right), there is no shortage of personality and design students can add to their books to give it the look and feel required for the project.

Project Ideas

Teachers from around the world, and from within our own district, have shared some of their best, most creative ideas for using Book Creator. If you are looking for some creative ways to put Book Creator to use, or for some very practical ways, check out some of these ideas.

  • Students Tell a Fictional Story from Five Different Character Viewpoints
  • Persuasive writing using travel brochures encouraging people to visit their location of choice
  • Collaboratively building books - each student contributes a page to the story! (tutorial)
  • Explain core content understandings through a child's eyes (A physics class explained force, motion, and velocity in children's books)
  • Creating mind maps using shapes and overlaying text, recording thinking orally using sound recorder
  • Student created "textbooks," in a high school social studies class, students create a country's "fact book" that contains key research and are shared with classmates
  • Using the embedded video to incorporate sign language within a book
  • Using the sound recorder to have students practice foreign language speaking skills
  • Digital portfolios that include images, videos, reflections (either written or spoken), and personalized to fit the individual student
  • Science Lab Journals-students archive the steps of the lab and thinking throughout the lab
  • Students who are struggling readers can use the "read to me" feature or teacher's pre-record themselves reading the text
  • App smash-bring in images from a green screen app or edited using PicCollage, import video from ChatterPix Kids, iMovie, Explain Everything and other video apps, GarageBand songs can be embedded into Book Creator too!

2017 is going to be a good year - Coming soon!

Book Creator on the web: A major update to Book Creator will allow you to create books on any device. And it will be as fully featured as the iPad version, plus more. Publish and share your books online with the web-based reader, work collaboratively and combine books from multiple authors, and access all your books on any device. This is going to make it even easier to give your students a public audience for their Book Creator creations.

Give Book Creator a try in one of your upcoming lessons and see what it is capable of doing.