Last term, the middle primary classes continued their focus on our school with the aim of creating a digital book about PEPS for our sister school. After listening to recommendations from other teachers about the best app to use, I settled on Book Creator for several reasons. A main one being that one of the teachers who recommended it was also using it, so it made sense that we explored it together.
Each of the 4 classes had specific areas of our school to focus on, to ensure that each area was covered. Then, from those, students could chose one for their own writing. Each class then brainstormed for ways in which to incorporate a verb in a very simple sentence about school areas. I wrote them all down and then as a class, we translated each of the sentences. Most classes ended up with a sentence similar to, “I like playing in the gym” which translates nicely: ‘Saya suka bermain di aula’. Each class then voted on the sentence they preferred and they then had to write a sentence about their area using the model that they had both chosen & translated! This worked very well because it gave the more capable students scope for imagination and creativity and for those struggling with aspects of literacy, provided them with a sentence they could either use entirely or change very slightly.
I then introduced the iPads that I had bought with my grant monies. With the first class, I walked them through the basics of Book Creator, but luckily the following day we had a student free ICT focus day where we discussed how students can develop 21st Century skills by working it out by all themselves. So with the next class, I gave out the iPads and the only heads up I gave them was the name of the app and what had to be included in their book – a front cover, their sentence written in English & Indonesian and a recording of them saying their sentences. I encouraged them to firstly try themselves, if that failed, then to try 2 more things before asking a friend. I was the absolute last option – mainly because I was also learning how to use it. For the first Book Creator lesson with each class, I finished the lesson with the students all sitting on the floor in a circle with the iPads. This allowed those still working to continue working while listening. In this forum, students who either were still stumped on an aspect had the opportunity to ask publicly or even better, for students who had discovered something really cool, to share it with the others. I remember vividly one class where a student had worked out how to enlarge the text, change the font and change the colour of a page and as that student shared, everyone was following along and experimenting with their own ‘book’! It was so exciting.
Students very quickly grasped the finer points of Book Creator. Students originally were in teams of 2-4 as there are only 5 iPads in the Indonesian classroom. I did this mainly to encourage collaboration, but with a task such as this was, more than 2 students to an iPad meant that the waiting time was too for some of them, so I ended up borrowing the recently purchased bank of 8 which improved the student/iPad ratio significantly.
It wasn’t till the holidays that I had a chance to look at the final products. I then learned that one of the features available in Book Creator is that the books can be combined, so I had this great idea where I could amalgamate all the books into one large book, but this great idea was disbanded very quickly when I discovered that to combine books, all books had to have the same page format and be on the same iPad. I also discovered that to combine, the first book has to include the front cover for them all as all subsequent front covers are not included.Still, it is a great idea and one that could be very useful.
Following are some of the things I love about using Book Creator in the classroom:
– If project has sound, it can be exported entirely to ibooks, the camera roll or even emailed (the quality deteriorates with this last option)
– airdropping to another iPad’s camera roll is possible & very easy
– If exported as a PDF, sound is lost
– Not only can students record their voices, they can also video themselves and import that into a project!
-Students can import photos or draw pictures
– to add to a blog, upload straight to Youtube!
If I could change aspects of Book Creator, all I would do is:
-To export projects from iPad to iPad so that projects can be combined
Finally here is a note to self for the next time I use Book Creator in the Indonesian Classroom:
1. Remind students not to use their surnames
2. Have students using the same iPad to use the same page for each project, so the combine pages is an option.
3. The title of a book must reflect the content of the book and the title and author names also need to be written underneath each project.
4. Each project would look finished with a back cover – maybe incorporating a kenalkan!
Have you used Book Creator in the Indonesian classroom successfully? My students all absolutely loved it and have repeatedly asked when we are next using iPads again!