I have used a student-generated content project in my CH 361 Energy, Resources and the Environment class for quite a number of years. In this class, we do not use a commercial textbook, but rather, students generate the e-textbook used. This is done using a wiki platform. The way the project works is that each class edits what has been previously written, updates the data and adds new sections. Since the course is taught in alternating years, this keeps the textbook relatively current on a topic that is extremely fluid. Although a wiki application works quite well for my purposes, it is a little limiting in the respect that the “book” is only available for reading online.
I am always looking for ways to improve the projects I use and found an app called Book Creator which allows you to add text, images, audio, and video to generate e-books. Unlike applications such as i-Books Author, it is easy enough for anyone to use. It can be used by teachers to generate classroom resources, by students for creative projects or by anyone who wants to create an e-book. Here are some of the types of things this app could be used for:
- instruction manuals
- digital portfolios
- lab notebooks
- travel journals
- picture books
- group creative writing books
- the modern scrapbook
- a recipe cookbook
I am sure there are a plethora of other applications for this app. Although Book Creator was originally designed as an iPad app, it is now available as a web app as well. When you are done creating your masterpiece, you can publish it for general distribution as an e-pub, an i-Book or a pdf document. e-Pub is a universal format that can be read on any platform while i-Books are Apple specific. The pdf is universal, but if the book has audio or video clips, they will not be incorporated into the final published form and would need to be made available to your audience through the web or other distribution mechanism.
Book Creator allows a teacher to generate a library that contains up to 40 books for free. There are paid accounts that allow multiple libraries and larger numbers of books, but for many classroom applications, the free account is sufficient. You do not have to be an actual teacher to sign up for an account and generate e-books. Students can have individual accounts, but I haven’t explored that feature. I am going to have students use this app in their capstone laboratory experience course next year for generating electronic laboratory notebooks.
You can learn more about Book Creator at https://bookcreator.com/