Since integrating the iPad into my classes this year my favorite apps have been the ones that had unlimited potential to draw out student creativity. Apps like Garageband, iMovie, Explain Everything and Toontastic (Review coming later) allow children to express themselves in ways subject specific or drill and practice apps do not. A few months ago I was looking for yet another open ended app which would promote writing with my students. It didn’t take me long to discover Book Creator from redjumper.net.
I see this app as a mini iBooks Author. You are able to create books in three different layouts, portrait, landscape, and square. Once you’ve selected your layout adding information to the book couldn’t be easier. By clicking on the plus sign in the top right corner you get a number of options of what you would like to add. For example, you can add photos or videos from your camera role, take photos and import them directly from the camera, draw your own illustrations with the pen, add text, and finally add sound to your book.
After adding different content to your book editing that said content is pretty simple. By clicking on the content and selecting the inspector button you can easily adjust the size of a photo or text, change font size or color as well as manipulate the color of your pages.
When you complete your book you can share it by exporting it to other apps such as iBooks, Dropbox, Evernote, Edmodo, and Google Drive. Or if you have an iPad Air you can Air Drop the book to someone.
One of the best things about Book Creator is that it appeals to students of all ages. As an EFL teacher in South Korea I teach students from first grade to ninth grade. I’ve used Book Creator with all of my classes. With my primary students I use Book Creator to support their understanding of story telling. We brainstorm stories together, share the pen when it comes to writing the story and students also create videos to add to their stories. Check out a sample here. https://www.dropbox.com/s/2th9sbf7vokg482/The%20Stolen%20Diamond.epub
My upper elementary students are using Book Creator to show their understanding of the novel we are reading (Hunger Games) I’ve asked students to retell part of the story but to change one of the major events. With my upper elementary students I do not need to give as much direction. The best thing I can do as a teacher is let them go. As I mentioned before because Book Creator is so easy to pick up and use my students only needed about a minute of instruction before they were off creating their books.
“Differentiated instruction allows all students to access the same classroom curriculum by providing entry points, learning tasks, and outcomes tailored to students’ learning needs” (Watts-Taffe et al., 2012). Technology in the classroom provides teachers the opportunity to work smarter rather than harder (Stanford, Crow, & Flice, 2009). Book Creator is an app that allows students of all different learning abilities to use their individual strengths. For example, in my elementary classes where students are beginning writers, using the add sound option to narrate their books provides them with a sense of accomplishment rather than failure they would experience if I were to ask them to struggle with a pen and paper story. Furthermore, gifted students with an knack for technology can incorporate different apps while creating their books, or as Gregg Kulowiec from Edtechteacher likes to say App-Smash.
With technology becoming a more promement tool for teachers in the classroom we need more apps like Book Creator to bring out the creativity in our students.
Stanford, P., Crowe, M. W., & Filce, H. (2010). Differentiating with technology. Teaching Exceptional Children Plus, 6(4), 2.