How I Use It
I LOVE the idea of creating and publishing books with multi-media features into well-known platforms like iBooks, Nook, and Edmodo.
If you use Debbie Miller's strategy of student created non-fiction text feature notebooks in the primary grades, this app takes it to a whole new level! Even if you are a 1 iPad classroom, you can create a non-fiction text feature notebook for students to use as a reference. That is how I started with 2nd graders, and I included picture examples of different text features, I embedded video definitions of the text features that I created in the app Explain Everything and Tellagami where I was able to circle, highlight and point out the important features we were discussing, and I included some audio notes such as where in a book you would find the index or the table of contents. If I have access to multiple iPads that include this app, I will have older students each create one page that identifies a different text feature and combine the pages from multiple students into one book that younger students can use as a reference.
Book creator is also a wonderful tool to use as a platform for students to publish their own stories. Any grade level can use this app to create class books such as the rules and procedures of the classroom, a get-to-know-you book about the class including video interviews with students, a book about a field trip, how-to stories . . . the list goes on and on! If you use Daily 5 and CAFE in your classroom, this app would be a GREAT way to incorporate "Listen to Reading," "Work on Writing," Fluency, and Extend Vocabulary. Even in a 1 iPad classroom, you could have students create their own audio books by reading each page of a story that is either written by a professional author or by a student. Creating an audio book for others to listen to during "Listen to Reading" is an authentic, purposeful way for students to practice their reading fluency. You could have multiple students contribute entries to a class book created with this app such as 'My Vacation,' 'Holidays,' or 'My Family' during "Work on Writing." Students could extend their vocabulary in multiple subjects by creating a book with this app to define words in math (sum, equation, addends, etc.), geometry (triangle, octagon, polygon, etc.) science (force, speed, velocity, etc.), social studies (political map, physical map, etc.), as well as vocabulary words in literacy. With the option of video and audio recordings embedded into book creator, students can give demonstrations and examples of their vocabulary word, which builds a better understanding for all.
Every school has a list of procedures, such as where to line up for assemblies, where to take your class during a fire drill, or how to begin your day when there is a late start. At the beginning of the year, we will introduce this app to teachers and give them some hands-on experience with it by having groups of teachers each create a page that explains one of these procedures or systems in our school using pictures, words, and audio or video. This will give them experience with the app and what it can do, it will allow a creative and powerful way for teachers to remember school procedures, and we will put it all together into an ebook that our school can use as a reference for the year. It will be a purposeful way to integrate professional development on technology to the staff!
Book creator can be used with kindergarten - adult learners whether the teacher is creating a resource for students to use as a reference, or students are creating their own ebooks. The ability to publish multi-media books that can include pictures, words, audio, and video in iBooks, Nook, Edmodo, Dropbox, or email makes it easy to share creations, and students feel like real authors. The possibilities for app smashing (using media created with 2 or more different apps or programs and combining them into one multi-media presentation) makes this app incredibly versatile and creates endless possibilities.
There are 2 drawbacks that I've come across with this app. Book Creator does not let you embed links in the book, which would be an especially nice feature if you're creating a reference, and it does not allow students (or teachers) to work on books collaboratively. There is a work around for working collaboratively on a book, however. If each person makes a separate page, there is a feature that allows you to combine pages from more than one book.
The bottom line is that this app is well worth the $4.99 price, and I would recommend it for any classroom!