As you may have heard on the latest episode of The Edtech Take Out podcast, a public beta of Book Creator for Chrome was officially launched this summer at the ISTE 2017 conference in San Antonio, Texas. Book Creator already has apps for iOS, Android and Windows devices, but this new update means your students can have full access to Red Jumper’s creative storytelling platform on the web with a Mac, PC or Chromebook. Sounds interesting, right? Well, here’s what you need to know.
How to Use Book Creator for Chrome
To get started, all you have to do is open Chrome, navigate to app.bookcreator.com, and sign in with a Google account. From there, you will find the web interface to be very similar to the iOS app, but for those that might not have used the mobile apps before, here’s a quick crash course on how to get started.
- Click New Book to create your first book
- Choose a book shape. (Several sizes are available, including comic books!)
- Now it’s time to create your cover. Click the “+” in the top-right hand corner to add text, images, shapes and more.
- Click the “i” in the top right-hand corner to choose a background color for your page, or click on a shape or some text first, and then click the “i” for formatting and additional options.
- To add more pages, click the black arrow in the middle-right of your screen
- Sort and re-order pages by clicking the Pages button on the toolbar
- Preview your book at any time by clicking the play button in the top-right hand corner of the screen. Here you will also find sharing options for publishing your book online or for downloading it as an eBook.
To get an idea of what a finished book looks like, take a look at the example that I threw together in just a few minutes. It was quick and easy to work on and although it doesn’t show all of the features that are available, you will at least get an idea of what a finished book looks like when it is share on the web.
For a more comprehensive look, the video below is an excellent visual overview of what this all looks like in practice. It also includes some great ideas for how you can use Book Creator for Chrome in your classroom.
Resources for Teachers Using Book Creator
Speaking of using Book Creator in your classroom, If you are looking for some inspiration or just want some ideas, then you’ll be glad to hear that there are a number of great resources already curated for that purpose. They include:
- The Book Creator Education Site
- Book Creator Resources for Teachers
- #BookCreator Twitter Chat (Last Thursday of the month)
- Book Creator Ambassadors (Friendly faces happy to help!)
Pricing for Book Creator for Chrome
I’ve always told teachers that as attractive as free apps and services are, there are always some that are worth paying for. With paid apps you invariably get more features, less ads, better support, and can usually rely on those apps not to disappear overnight. For me, Book Creator fits that criteria perfectly. It’s versatile, encourages creativity and is easy to learn, so I have no problem recommending it to others as an must-have app for any classroom device.
Pricing at launch is based on how many active books and libraries you need. Libraries are created by a teacher, and students are then invited to create books within them. When a library is no longer needed, it can be archived to allow more to be created. As you will see below, there is a generous free plan included among the paid options and discounts are available for 5 or more licenses when you email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The final version of Book Creator for Chrome will launch in August, just in time for the new school year, but in my testing the public beta was very stable. I had no issues with any of the existing functionality and would happily recommend anyone to go and try it out. Additional features may arrive in August (or in the coming months) so if you do take some time to test the current version, be sure to pass your ideas along to the Book Creator team.
Personally, I think it would be great to have the option to share via an embed code. This would add some additional flexibility to where books can be seen online. Sync between the mobile apps and the web app would be great, and if real-time collaboration between students was even remotely possible, I am sure many educators would welcome that too.
As I said before, Book Creator is a great app that deserves a place on any device because of it’s versatility and ease of use. The new web version for Chrome only serves to underline that. However, if you are in need of any further encouragement, the Book Creator team have made sure that it is certified by COPPA and iKeepSafe in order to protect the privacy and safety of your students online.