Just when you thought Book Creator couldn’t get any better, BOOM, it does. The ‘boom’ is particularly relevant in the opening sentence as the app in question has stepped into the comic book world with its latest update. Book Creator is one of the most widely used and appreciated app in schools today. It brings a unique angle to the creation of a book. By combining the multi-media functionality of an iPad with the simplistic formatting of a digital book, the app has created an engaging and innovative place to build a book. To learn more about the basics of using the app, please read ‘10 Ways of Book Creator‘.
As we all know, comic books are bigger than ever. Every other film is a super hero movie. I’m sure that many young children will be dressed as their favourite comic book character as they walked the Halloween streets. Even older children and adults get a kick out of the Marvel Extended Universe or the Dark Knight movies. Therefore, it’s fair to say that the comic book world sparks the imaginations of many. In turn, this brings a whole host of learning opportunities to the classroom. Children may well be more engaged with the concept of writing a comic story than writing a fairy tale. They may be more interested in reading a graphic novel than reading a traditional fiction book. Whether you agree with that or not, the fact is that the comic book might be the route to a wider enjoyment of literature.
Book Creator have managed to open their app up to this idea with their latest update. You can now choose from three different comic strip templates that bring their own specialist options with them. Below are just three benefits of this addition to an already awesome app.
1) Structure and Form
Firstly, and maybe most importantly, choosing a Comic Template enables you to access ‘Panels’ within the ‘Add Items’ list. You can then choose from a list of structures for each page of your comic book. Essentially, this does a big part of the formatting for you and enables you to concentrate on the content. However, it can also offer a unique way of learning the separate components of a story structure. For example, you can choose a panel that contains three boxes. The three boxes in this case could contain images that highlight a beginning, middle and end of a story. On top of this, the formats could even lend themselves to different types of writing like newspapers or information texts. This little addition makes the app even more accessible in my eyes. Images can be lined up in a coherent order and the writing can be added underneath.
Of course, the ‘Panels’ add a layer of simplicity to the creation of a comic book. However, the entire usability of the Comic Strip Templates is much more simplistic in general. The initial set of features that can be accessed on the ‘add item list’ are a little less complex than on a standard Book Creator template. For example, when you ‘add text’ to your comic book, a list of four fonts appear. These four are in keeping with a comic book feel and so it’s easy to choose a good option for your writing. Speech and thought bubbles are there in the list, making them easy to access and paste on your pages. Having said all of that, you do still have the option of accessing all of the more in-depth options within the ‘add item list’ by tapping on ‘more’. Therefore, you can go on to add additional images and videos as well as drawings to your comic. These are features that have been around on the app for a long while and they add another layer of possibilities to a comic book strip.
3) Room for Differentiation
You might think that with the addition of easy formatting panels and a simpler set of initial options, the Comic Book templates are only suitable for lower attaining pupils. However, all of the aforementioned features can be adapted and edited. Therefore, nothing is locked down and everything can be changed so that children can really make their comic books their own. In turn, this means that this part of the app is very open to differentiation by outcome. By tapping on a ‘panel’ box and hitting the ‘inspector’ (little i in the top right hand corner) you can edit said box after tapping on ‘unlock’. This enables you to re-position and re-format like adding shadows or changing the border width and so on. Obviously, the ‘more button’ in the ‘add item’ list is another way of customising a comic book creation. Other than the features like ‘photos and camera’ that have been around for a while, you can also access ‘stickers’ and ‘shapes’ in the ‘more list’. The ‘stickers’ provide a child with comic book style imagery and words. These elements not only add a real sense of comic book aesthetics but can also highlight a higher understanding of a story’s tone. There really is a lot of room for children to play to their abilities.
The nice thing about the latest update is that the Comic Strip Templates are an ‘addition’ in the simplest sense of the word. If you do not choose one of these new templates then you will be faced with the same old Book Creator. Some updates on some apps seem to completely change the way that you interact with them. Book Creator do very well to update without alienating anyone. They seem to add features and functions in a methodical way. The app developers are also very good at adding entirely relevant and enhancing options to their updates. On top of all of this, Book Creator has always and continues to be extremely connective through it’s camera roll interaction. In other words, anything that can be created and exported to the camera roll on any app can then be picked up and used in a Book Creator book. The examples below have been enhanced by an app called Comic Art in that I was able to make all of the images look as if they were drawn in a graphic art style. This kind of connectivity not only adds to the differentiation possibilities, it also adds to creativity possibilities. A child can integrate all sorts of elements from all sorts of different apps. There is a reason why Book Creator is held in such high regard. The bar just got higher.