MysterB gives you some advice for harnessing the awesome Book Creator app in the classroom effectively
1. Interactive Pictures.
Through regular updates, Book creator has changed quite a bit in the last year. One of the best additions to the app though has to be the ability to mask sound clips - that is, to make the sound button invisible in iBooks. The genius of this is that you can make pictures (or even parts of pictures) interactive!
2. Audio Feedback.
The applications of the audio masking feature are vast but one that has worked particularly well for us has been the for teacher feedback. Use Dropbox or email to seed a staff photo to the students that they can reuse throughout their project. Then as elements are added to the ebook, they can come to you for audio reflections on their work, effort or even presentation.
Any image can have a hyperlink tagged to it which creates a wealth of possibilities. These links can direct you either to a website or to a specific page in the ebook itself. One clever student in my class took the initiative herself to hyperlink her contents page using relevant images.
4. Importing Content.
Book Creator is friendly towards content coming from the Camera Roll. As such content made in other apps like Morfo, Puppet Pals, Explain Everything etc can easily be embedded to enhance your ebook further. Remember, if an app does not support exporting to the camera roll, use the built-in screenshot tool to take an image then crop it directly in the Photos app.
5. Scanning Content.
Another helpful reminder would be that children’s work can be scanned as jpg files and added to Dropbox. This makes it possible to download directly to the camera roll and insert into ebooks. This is great as it means that the iPad does not have to dominate an entire project but be used a the tool to present handwritten work. Audio/typed reflections or even video reflections can then enhance a piece of work further!
6. Direct Their Style.
Most students will have little experience creating ebooks and as such can get a little carried away with the style options – and using as many as humanly possible! Try to steer them away from this as it can be distracting and even detrimental for the reader. Particularly look out for “rainbow books” where every single page is a different, bright primary colour! Remind students that backgrounds are better being paler, softer colours to make the content stand out.
7. Drafts and Dropbox.
Another newer feature of Book Creator is the ability to save to Dropbox during a project and then download back to Book Creator to continue working on it. This is especially helpful if students are not using their own iPads as it negates the need to use the same device every time! Be warned though – you must ensure that the device is kept on and Dropbox open until the file upload completes or the file can corrupt and will no longer open in Book Creator (though it will still be safely on the original iPad of course!)
8. Merging Books
Another helpful addition to the app when it comes to dealing with the logistics of iPads in the classroom. If a student forgets their device, all is not lost! Have them start a new book on a separate device and upload the draft to Dropbox at the end of the session. When they return to their own device, they can now download the extra pages they made to Book Creator. Whilst looking at the main ebook file, click on the + symbol and choose Combine Books. Now, just choose the ebook of the extra pages and they will be added to the end of the original book!
9. Desktop Viewing with Readium
Upon completing an ebook project in 2012, it was a little disappointing for those without iPads at home that they couldn’t take their work away with them. Thankfully the latest update to Book Creator has addressed this issue. Email your .epub to your PC or Mac and open the Google Chrome browser. From here, access the Chrome App Store and download the free Readium app. This will enable your ebook file to be opened on a desktop with full interactive content!
10. Speak To The Source
Red Jumper Studios, the developers of Book Creator, are excellent at responding to feedback and helping with issues that arise whilst using their app. Visit this link to find out more: http://www.redjumper.net/bookcreator/support/