How and when did Red Jumper Studios form?
I founded Red Jumper at the beginning of 2011. At the time the iPad had recently launched along with the iBookstore and at home I had 3 children under the age of 6. My wife, Ally Kennen, is a children's author and seeing our kids take to the iPad it became clear very quickly that the iPad was a fantastic new way for parents, teachers and authors to engage children in reading, writing and creating. I left my job as a Product Manager for Nokia and got straight to work on Book Creator!
Did you expect Book Creator to have made such an impact in educational circles?
The response from teachers has been amazing. Every day we hear stories of the impact the app has made, from beginning writers with special needs, through to young authors publishing to Apple's iBookstore and having their books enter the store's charts! Whilst I hoped Book Creator would be useful in the classroom, I didn't expect it to become a core teaching app for so many schools around the world.
What features of Book Creator do you think make it particularly useful in the classroom?
Based on the feedback we hear from teachers the following come up time and time again:
1. Open ended
Alongside exercising students' reading, writing and creativity skills, making books is a great project for reinforcing learning of any subject. You can of course create stories, but also multimedia books with audio and video on history, maths, art, a school trip.
Book Creator is simple enough to use that it doesn't get in the way of the lesson. Our benchmark for simplicity is that a teacher with a classroom of excited 5 year olds should be able to make great books!
The app allows students to work collaboratively on different iPads and create a single book. This is great for creating a class book, and we're also seeing lots of teachers connecting students from different schools and countries to work together.
4. The end result
Exporting a book from the app puts it into your iBooks app, where it sits alongside professional books downloaded from the iBookstore. Students and teachers love to see and share their final books with beautiful covers and page turning effects - it gives a real sense of achievement.
How hard is it to develop and evolve the app to keep it cutting edge?
Honestly it's so much fun to work on the app that it never seems like hard work. We receive such fantastic feedback from teachers that we always have a good idea what should be included next. The challenge is to add these new features without making the app harder to use, especially for younger children. Fortunately we have help from some wonderful teachers who beta test new features with their students so we can be confident of keeping the app simple and intuitive.
What can users expect in future updates to Book Creator?
We'll be making Book Creator even easier to integrate into your lessons with built in drawing tools, and more sharing options will ensure every parent, student and teacher can read the created books whatever their technology choices. And of course, we'll be adding support for iOS 7 and some of the great new features it brings such as AirDrop for quick transfer of books and files between iPads.
Do you have any other apps in the pipeline?
Right now all our focus is on Book Creator, both adding new features and supporting our existing users to get the maximum value from the app. There's still so much more we want to do with Book Creator!
Dan thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us.
To read our own feature on tips for getting the most out of Book Creator, click here.