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Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2014

Composer Pro

Fully loaded, top-of-the-line tool for creating polished ebooks

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Creativity
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
8–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

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Pros: Features galore let writers publish professional-looking ebooks with interactive elements.

Cons: Students and teachers will need time to familiarize themselves with the tool.

Bottom Line: Amazing resource is a must for PBL and writers' workshops where kids create relevant, professional-looking products.

Composer Pro is a must-have tool for writers' workshops. Students can publish their work to share with the class or the world. Classes implementing project-based learning could use the app to showcase cross-curricular projects. Encouraging students to use other apps and tools for movie-making, creating animations, drawing, or editing images to include in their interactive books would really round out the process.

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Editor's Note: Composer Pro is no longer available.

Using Composer Pro, students can create and publish interactive ebooks. To start a new project, writers choose portrait or landscape orientation and then add elements onto a blank grid-lined page. They can add images, audio, animations, movies, and text, plus touch zones and hot zones to make the books interactive. Writers can create an index, book cover, and master page, and add additional pages. Work is automatically saved and can be easily edited by moving around pages, changing text, images, and features. Students can publish their work to the Demibooks store, where professionals have published work, or share it more privately through Dropbox. There's also an option to submit ebooks for sale at the iTunes App Store, but that costs money.

Creating a high-quality, professional-caliber ebook is absolutely possible using Composer Pro, but that doesn't mean it will be easy or effortless. The interface is pretty intuitive for students familiar with using other digital creation tools on a touch screen, but students and teachers both will need to take time to familiarize themselves with the features. Sample books are included, as is a tutorial book and in-app help, and no coding is required. Careful planning is a must before students even open Composer Pro. 

This is a dream tool for empowered classrooms where students create real, relevant work. Spending time planning, writing, revising, and editing a piece of writing is so much more meaningful when students can spend just a little more time to create a beautiful ebook that can be shared with friends, families, and the world.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Students create professional-caliber interactive books. Seeing their ideas come to life with polish and pizazz will excite and inspire kids.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Working alone or in a group, students bring together different talents -- writing, animating, illustrating, planning -- to create interactive ebooks, and then easily share their work.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

A few sample books are included, as is a guide to show how to use all the features. Word is saved to the in-app library and can be shared to Dropbox or iTunes and published to Demibooks or iTunes (for a fee).


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews


Featured review by
Kristin H. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
Wonderfully accessible app for creating interactive media as well as getting an introduction to the principles of programming.
This app is a great tool but does require that the teacher have a working knowledge of the product. Simple projects can be completed with relative ease but there is the potential for a high level of sophistication in the projects. Helping students become savvy visual communicators and programmers are great benefits of this app.
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