The power of a familiar paradigm

Beth HollandBlog, Chrome, Education

The power of Book Creator lies in its simplicity. Teachers and students can take a familiar object – a book – and extend its creative potential as far as their imaginations will allow.

Particularly in beginner professional development workshops, any time I introduce Book Creator to a group of educators, I see a wave of relief wash over them. Unlike many other apps, Book Creator represents the familiar. Every teacher knows what a book looks like and can immediately generate ideas for how one can fit into their curriculum.

Students can also quickly wrap their minds around the concept of a book – even if digital – and comprehend that it could contain text, drawings, and images.

Screenshot from the online version of 'A Global iBook'

As I wrote recently on my EdTech Researcher blog, paradigms provide concrete images on which to build new ideas. In many ways, this need for the familiar explains why so many teachers prefer Chromebooks and laptops to iPads. They can understand the role that a productivity suite like Google Docs, Microsoft Office, or iWorks might play in their classroom.

A keyboard and screen align to the familiar paradigm of a desktop computer (or even a typewriter). While it is absolutely possible to use these devices for so much more than word processing and slide presentations, and there are dozens of amazing web tools that allow students to create a host of different multimedia artifacts, I often struggle to find a “hook” to get technology beginners thinking about different ways for students to create.

In other words, I wanted that one tool that would bring a sense of relief instead of tech-induced anxiety. I wanted Book Creator for more than just iPads.

Student using Book Creator

Taking the familiar and stretching it

Book Creator takes the familiar and then slowly stretches what could be possible. A teacher or student might begin with a static book or comic book, creating content that contains text, drawing, and images. Maybe they add audio narration as a next step.

Then, as they become more confident, they shift from working with static to dynamic content: inserting videos created in other apps, linking to content within the pages of a book or on the web, and really rethinking the concept of what it means to be a book. What starts as a familiar paradigm then opens up a new world of possibility as teachers and students focus on creativity instead of technology.

Thankfully, the Chrome app will soon be available on any Chromebook, Macbook, Windows device, or Android tablet, and include all of the features available on the iOS version. Soon, students and teachers will be able to create and share using any device – all from within the familiar paradigm of a book.

If you do not yet believe me, give it a try for yourself!

Get a copy of Book Creator for iOS, or test out the beta version for Chrome, and then let us know what you create in the comments below.

Beth Holland is a vastly experienced educator, Edutopia and EdTech Researcher Blogger, TEDx Presenter, international presenter, and doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins University. She’s also a Book Creator Ambassador!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *