Digital books are transforming the way students of all ages learn today. The interactive elements of digital books enhance the learning experience, making it far more informative and interesting than before. Many teachers today are embracing this new media and producing some high quality student-made eBooks in their classrooms.
One of the most fascinating ways to create an eBook is using a mobile device, particularly, an iPad. StoryKit, Book Writer, and Book Creator are 3 apps my students have used to create some highly interactive, professionally looking eBooks. All three apps are excellent examples of tools that allow students to unleash their creativity and tell their own stories.
StoryKit is a user-friendly free app that allows students to create eBooks with text, pictures, sound recordings, and drawings. The app allows users to import pictures from the iPad’s Camera Roll, supports multi-language text, and student made illustrations.
Although it is not as powerful as other eBook creation apps, its lack of complex features makes it ideal for lower elementary students, or, for teachers and students who are new to eBook creation. StoryKit’s main advantage is its ability to provide a platform that gives students a voice and allows them to narrate their own story. The final product can be enjoyed on the iPad, or it can be shared with others via email.
The interactivity of eBooks created with StoryKit is limited to the playback of the sound files that can be up to one minute long. Also, the app does not support file exporting or printing. Nevertheless, StoryKit is a solid authoring app that allows students to create their own eBooks from scratch, and share them in ways that protect the user’s privacy.
Book Writer (free/$4.99)
Users looking for an app with more impressive features can try Book Writer; an innovative app students and teachers can use to create eBooks. Much like StoryKit, the app supports text, audio narration, drawings, and pictures, and utilizes a user-friendly interface that makes creating an interactive book a breeze.
However, Book Writer has some additional functions to offer. For instance, students can import video files into their projects, a feature that makes their eBooks truly exciting. In addition, the app supports advance sharing options such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and iTunes integration, and it even allows you to open your final product in iBooks.
Furthermore, the app allows students to customize the text’s size and color, and is enriched with some rare additional features such as link integration, slideshow mode, and background music. All these qualities guarantee a final product with a highly professional look and feel.
The free version allows the user to create only one book at a time. If you are only planning on using the app once or twice, students can share their eBook with others or open it in iBooks, and then start a new book within the app that replaces the old one. However, teachers who plan on using the app on a regular basis can buy the full version that will allow the entire class to create multiple eBooks as well as to unlock additional distribution options.
Book Creator (free/$4.99)
Book Creator is one of the most intuitive book creation apps for mobile devices, and it is the only book authoring app that can be used on more than one platform, namely, iOS and Android. The app is equipped with one of the easiest and most straightforward interfaces around, and it is one that requires no learning curve.
Book Creator allows students to import text, hand drawings, illustrations, pictures, sound files, narration, and video files, making it ideal for advance eBook creation that utilizes complex techniques such as app smashing, digital storytelling, and project based learning. Furthermore, students have the ability to combine multiple eBooks into larger books, export these books in ePub, PDF or movie format, or print them using the app’s AirPrint support.
Teachers and students using Book Creator are able to export their final projects to almost all of the major cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and iCloud. They are also able to send their work directly to iTunes University, iBooks, and even publish their eBooks on Apple’s iTunes store, so that they can share their work with anyone who lives in the Apple ecosystem.
Much like Book Writer, before buying the full version, teachers and students can try the free version of the app, which allows them to create only one book. The Book Creator Team is currently working on a plan to integrate additional widgets that will allow for 3-dimensional objects, quizzes, and other features that will improve the user experience dramatically.
Some Final Thoughts
The rise of digital books has transformed the way students of all levels are interacting with textbooks and other learning materials. Exploring new frontiers has always been a human innate trait.
Naturally, students are fascinated by eBook creation, and when immersed in this new media, they are more willing to experiment, take risks, and engage in collaborative content creation and learning. Digital book creation provides students with all the tools necessary to help them unleash their creativity. As such, it redefines education by helping students engage in new learning behaviors.
Nik will be presenting on this topic at the February 9-11 iPad Summit in San Diego. Registration is open!