BOOK BUILDER is a free on-line tool used to create, read, publish, and share interactive digital books. It is an engaging tool that supports diverse learners.
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Book builder gives the author an opportunity to enhance their digital stories by using coaches. There are six animated coaches to choose from or you can use a photograph of your choice. The photo might be of a person in a costume, an animal or a drawn character. However, if you use the animated coaches they move when delivering the text message verbally as Book Builder converts text into audio. You can use up to three coaches. The author decides how the coaches enhance their story and guide their readers. You can choose from a selection of male and female voices to use for the voice of the coach or you can upload digitally recorded voice clips. The coaches and their voices cannot be changed, so select carefully. You decide which order the coaches are presented on your page and give them a name. With each page you can decide whether to use the coaches or not, only the coaches that have text for that page will appear at the bottom of the page. The coach will read whatever you type.
Click here for examples of books including ‘Jake Likes to Play Games’ by Yvonne Domings which uses the coaches to guide the thinking of the readers into understanding facial expressions. The following is an extract from that online book by Yvonne Domings.
The story reads:
Jake likes to play games with his friend.’ The first coach asks, “Do you think Jake is happy?” The second coach gives hints to work out the answer, “I look at Jake’s mouth and eyes for clues to help me guess if he is happy.” The third coach answers the question, “The sides of Jake’s mouth turn up. He is smiling. His eye look happy too. I think Jake is happy.
The author of this story is obviously teaching the audience how to predict the thoughts and feelings of others using the context of the situation and the non-verbal cues of the people in the situation.
- Up to two audio clips can be added to each page. Ideas include oral reading of the page or sound effects.
- Image and Sound Information
- You can embed the source of the images and sounds and include descriptions or captions for images.
Book Builder has more advanced technology than similar sites that I investigated. Book Builder gives the author a choice of 15 fonts that the size can vary from 8 point to 36 point. However, you cannot insert your own size font, you can only choose preselected options. The author also gets the entire colour range to choose from for your font.
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Potential, Barriers and Challenges
- has the potential to enhance every subject.
- can be used for most age groups providing they can read and type
- gives the user many options
- gives the option of uploading photos or drawings to use for the coaches or for pictures within the book
- gives options on the page outlay
- gives options of uploading voice clips or using a variety of voices already on Book Builder
- gives the option of printing your created story
- gives the option of publishing your story via the Book Builder public library
- can be edited, even after being published
- allows you to view published stories that others have created
- story can be typed into Word first so much of the time consuming typing is done when the computer is offline.
- Then just copy, paste and change font if you choose
- stories can be printed or viewed on-line for free
Unlike many other online book creating tools, Book Builder does not have links to Facebook and Flickr. Many of the other sites require the pictures to be imported from Facebook, etc.
* http://www.pimpampum.net/bookr/ requires the story builder to use images from Flickr
* http://www.mixbook.com/ has many links to facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket and Smugmug
* http://www.tikatok.com/ has links to Facebook and Twitter
* http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/make-your-own/story-maker allows you to ‘create’ a book that you know very little about until it is complete. It instructed me to answer questions by clicking on a prompt or typing in an answer with up to 10 characters.
- Every new page that is created the author needs to reselect the font style and size, Book Builder does not remember the font from the previous page, this can become time-consuming.
- After editing a published book, it needs to be republished.
- There is no guidance about the structure of a story.
- When creating an online story, there is always the temptation to use text, images and audio recordings that are found online. The authors of Book Builder stories need to be made aware of copyright laws. Do not use the material of others without permission (text, images, audio). Using the material of others without permission is in violation of the copyright law. Remember many Internet resources are protected by copyright.
- Do not use pictures of children without parental/guardian permission.
- If you publish the book in the public library the full name of the member can be viewed. To protect the privacy of children, I suggest that they all publish their books via the teachers account.
- Can be very time consuming
- Users need to be fairly familiar and confident with the computer as too many options can be daunting to people who have not had much experience on computers.
- Access to enough computers for the students
Uses in the Classroom
Book Builder is suitable for children from year 1 (depending on their experience using a computer) through to the teachers creating learning resources.
Students can create and publish their own stories. Here’s a story created by Miles in year 2.
Students can create and publish poems. Here’s a poem created by Jasmine in year 2.
- Artwork from individual students can be consolidated into an online book.
- A digital record could be made of science experiments, documenting the process of experiments and photographing the stages.
- Journals could be created to recount excursions.
- A collection of stories from the same child could be consolidated throughout the year to show progression.
- A collection of stories from all members of the class could be consolidated as a class book.
A powerpoint that was created after researching the Tasmanian Devil. It has now been transformed into an online book. Click here to view it.
- The teacher can create social stories that reflect similar incidents that occur in the school environment.
- Children who are given the opportunity to have conversations and read about a variety of emotions better understand their own emotions and the emotions of others. The coaches in Book Builder can encourage the reader to think about how they feel in certain situations this will help the reader predict the feelings of others and to be empathetic.
- The children could also make their own social stories to express their own understanding of emotions. Here’s an example of a social story.