This academic year, both our teachers and students have experimented with creating eBooks on their iPads. In this entry, we would like to give a brief description of the main Apps and websites we and our students have used to create eBooks.
Creative Book Builder (CBB): https://itunes.apple.com/ae/app/creative-book-builder/id451041428?mt=8 (14.99 AED)
With CBB, it is possible to create professional looking eBooks with text, photo, audio, video , external and internal links.CBB enables users to embed PDF files and import from Dropbox, Google Drive and FTP Server as well as add files from URL. Users can add tables, multiple-choice questions, generate and embed QR codes, create unlimited number of chapters and sections, customize their book information and edit content offline. Books created in CBB can be shared via e-mail, Dropbox, Google Drive, WebDav Server, QR codes or iTunes File Sharing. Like the other eBooks, they can be published in iBooks Shelf.
This academic year, teachers have used CBB to create reading books that included text, video, audio and multiple choice questions. We have also used CBB to create books for teachers. By embedding all the PDF files that included course information into a single book, we have made sure teachers could access all course-related administrative documents in one place.
Students have created CBB books as e-portfolios for their writing course. By embedding PDFs of the writing texts they had written throughout the semester, the students had a chance to easily create an e-portfolio and share with their teachers.
Once published in iBook Shelf, the eBooks enable the reader to highlight words, add notes and define words by using the integrated dictionary function. Especially at lower levels, the ‘speak’ function and the vocabulary cards that can be created within the book have proven to be very useful.
iBooks Author (iBA): https://itunes.apple.com/ae/app/ibooks-author/id490152466?mt=12
Free on Mac App Store.
iBA is another eBook authoring application by Apple which is used on a Mac. Thus, unlike the other options, the users are not able to create an eBook on the iPad and would need to work on a Mac. However, it is the most professional option of all and allows users to create beautiful multi-touch books ‘for’ the iPad. iBA has templates allowing new-users to have an easy start, enables users to drag and drop pictures, videos and text files from their Mac and add widgets, such as 3D objects, diagrams and interactive images that turn the book into a highly interactive multi-touch eBook.
Last semester, the teachers in our team created thematic reading books for each level by using iBA. These books included text, audio, video, links and multiple-choice questions. The books were shared with the students through the Y drive connection in iFiles. Once downloaded, the students opened the books in iBooks, like all the other eBooks and could access them offline, anywhere in the world. Our students have truly enjoyed these interactive eBooks and had a chance to create vocabulary cards and add notes, which they could refer to outside class.
iBooks Author Tutorial:
Scribble Press: https://itunes.apple.com/ae/app/scribble-press/id487300076?mt=8
Scribble Press is an e-book creation platform that was originally designed for children. However, due to its user-friendly nature and simple language, it has been a favorite with our lower level ESL students at college level.
With its 50 ready templates (eg. All about me, My Vacation, My Best Friend, First Day at School), lower level ESL students can easily create a story book with text and pictures. It is also possible to start a blank book and add one’s own text and images. The App has built-in stickers and over 100 markers that help users create fun, colourful eBooks. It is currently not possible to add audio, video and links or import ready documents in Scribble Press.
Our students have created thematic eBooks in which they described their holidays and families. Also, they created grammar-based eBooks which included their own sentences and photos. When we studied possessive ‘s, for instance, they went around the campus, took photos and embedded them in their eBooks with captions, such as ‘My teacher’s desk, My college’s car park, My supervisor’s office’. These books can be shared with others via e-mailing a website link on Scribbepress.com, facebook or twitter. They can also be published in one’s own iPad using the iBooks App.
Scribble Press Tutorial:
ePubBud: http://www.epubbud.com/ Free Website
Similar to Scribble Press, ePubbud is a user-friendly website that allows users to create eBooks. Unlike Scribble Press; however, ePubBud does not have an App. One advantage of ePubBud over Scribble Press is the fact that audio and video files can be embedded in the eBooks. The website also allows users to sell their books through ePubBud website, Apple, Barnes & Nobles and Amazon for free.
Our students have created books on ePubBud website through Safari on their iPads to describe their college and their favorite hobbies. They included text, audio and videos in their eBooks and shared them with their peers.
For those looking for an App that can create eBooks with text and photos only in a few taps, Mooklet is the answer. We have come across this iPhone App lately and haven’t used it in class yet, but with its user-friendly interface, Mooklet would be a great App choice for students to easily create photo story eBooks. It can be used both on iPhones and iPads. The books can be published as HTML 5 based web application and shared via URL, which makes them easy to be shared.