Thursday, February 28, 2013

Digital Storytelling - Apps for Creating Books on the IPAD

So this week my grade 1's and I have been having fun writing books about each other using the ipads. You should have seen how excited they were to do this.  They took pictures of each other and wrote about the photos they took.

There are many apps that can be used to make books with our students. I tried quite a few before we settled on Book Creator.  All had good points and bad. I thought I would share a little about what I learned so it might be easier for you to pick an app that will works for you and your students.

The good:  Picturebook is available in French. It is easy to use and comes with stock images so students can start writing right away.
There is plenty of room to write. You can use multiple images to create a page, It has a free version.

The not so good: In order to use your own images you have to pay. Additional photo sets are also available for .99 each. Students can see these sets when they access the app. They are taken to a "buy me" screen if they click on them. Sharing your story involves linking your device to their system.

Update: Picturebook also has a "School Edition" that costs $2.99 and includes more image sets and no in app purchase options. I didn't test this version. If you have used it please let us know what you thought.

Little Book Maker

Of all the apps I tried this is the one I wanted to love but couldn't.

The Good:  It was easy to use. Students could add their own photos. They could record their voices. My favorite feature was that they could also add a watch the bouncing ball feature so that the words were highlighted as they were being read.  It was also FREE!

The Bad:  I tries this app with my students. It crashed 15 times in our 30 minute lesson.  It only allows for 1 line of text. The app acts as an advertisement center for the creators other apps. There are constant pop-ups asking if you want to download their latest product. You must be in the app to read the books.

My Story
This is a great choice. For only $1.99 it is a good bargain.

The Good:  With this app students can create stories using their own drawing and photos and they never need to leave the app to do this. The books can easily be shared with others using the share button. The app is available in multiple languages including French.

The Not So Good:  Although you can read the text inside the app, the text is very small and the font can not be changed. The text is easier to read when you export it into Ibook to read but it is difficult for students to visualize how their book will look when it is published within the app.


The Good: This app allows you to record audio over images of your choice.  Great for retelling exercises or building oral language skills.

The Bad: You can't add text to your stories. It isn't as intuitive as the other apps on this list and it took me longer to figure out. It says you can share stories with others but the only method I found was through Facebook.

As I said in the end I ended up choosing Book Creator for use in my classroom.
Book Creator

The Bad: It is pricey at $4.99 per Ipad. It is only available in English. Students can type in French but all commands are in English.

The Good: It is easy to use. Students can write stories, add pictures and record their voices. The stories are easy to share in multiple formats including PDF and Ebook formats. Students were able to use the app quickly and had few problems. Text, backgrounds and pictures are customizable  If you want students to draw their own pictures I recommend using doodle buddy to draw the pictures and save the images to the camera roll.

For more information and ideas for using Book Creator check out this article from  @langwitches 

So what did I learn at school today? There are lots of options out there for digital story telling. The one you choose will depend on how you want to use it and if sharing your students work is important to you. Whatever app you choose your students love the chance to be creative on the ipads and I think you will be please by how creative they can be.

Are you using your Ipads for digital storytelling? Which app do you use? Why?

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