Summer is just ripe for new ideas. Teachers are out in the world, looking at things other than their classrooms, and have a little time off. That's often when those creative teaching ideas that have eluded us in the midst of curriculum, meetings, report cards, and end of year activities have a chance to percolate to the top.
On the third day of iPad Media Camp, I struggled to come up with an imaginative way to use the Book Creator app in my classroom. Today, I came across a blog post from Christy Venosdale about Toys in Action stories, stories about toys that go out in the world and have an adventure. I looked up from my desk and saw a beaded fish that I made with my children years ago, I looked outside at my garden and saw all the colorful flowers and, voila, an idea was born.
Book Creator (free, by the way) is very easy to use:
First, I came up with my story line. My fish gets to leave his bowl and go on an adventure in the garden, unaware of what dangers might lurk there.
Second, I took my fish out into the garden and, using my iPad, took the photos I thought I might need in my book.
Third, I opened Book Creator and created my book. With Book Creator, it was very easy to import photos from my camera roll. I added some hand-written script, I added text, and I added sound. I played with the options for colorful pages.
Fourth, I opened my book in iBooks and could read it, complete with sound. I can already imagine my third graders writing books for their little buddies. My students will practice their fluency when they record their books. Their kindergarten buddies can "read" the books by touching the sound icons.
Finally, I tried to find a good way to share my book. I want my students to be able to easily share their books with friends and family. It's not easy to export the book with sound; it is easier to export it as a pdf. I successfully exported my book as a pdf to Edmodo, which I may use as a learning management system this year.
Probably the easiest solution I found to share the book with sound was in a blog post by Kristen Wideen. She recommends creating the book in Book Creator, then taking screen shots of each page to open in Explain Everything (not free, but worth every penny). The narration can then be added in Explain Everything. The Explain Everything book can be saved as a video on the camera roll and added by the students to their Kidblogs (maybe using EasyBlogger, Jr.)