For well over a year now I have been using Book Creator for iPad with my students at Jackson School, a special education K-12 school in Melbourne, Australia. This app has become such a big deal for us that it was quickly put on our Essential Apps list for students and teachers, which is a hard list to get on to. If there's ever anything I use on my iPad to impress parents, other educators, or iPad skeptics, this is the app I turn to.
I still vividly remember a discussion I had with a colleague when we first introduced Book Creator to Jackson School. Students in her class displayed a range of issues when working within literacy activities, including speech disorders, low confidence when reading in front of others, and of course issues like the ones I outlined previously. Book Creator was used on one iPad during a cooking class as the students worked with their teacher. The device was used as a collaborative tool to list the recipe, photograph and film steps, and to add a student voice. The speech aspect was added to the story whilst the class were waiting for the food to cook, and this was where Book Creator truly shined. The teacher showed me how kids who were always shy about reading in front of their peers read and recorded their voice to the book with absolute confidence. However, the real tearjerker was hearing a student who has a diagnosed speech impediment read 3 full sentences without missing a beat. He was confident in front of his peers and spoke like he'd never spoken before.
Despite all these wonderful experiences I think the most excited and amazed I've ever been by Book Creator was during my recent trip to Brasil. As part of a fundraiser (read about it here) I made sure that Book Creator was on the iPads that were being given to the teacher, even though the app is currently only in English (let's hope we can fix that soon, Book Creator Team). After training the teacher on how to use the app in some very rough English to Portuguese translations I showed her how to share books using Google Drive. Around 5 weeks have passed since the teacher, Helena, received the iPads and I regularly receive incredible books from her and her students. Did I mention that these kids have hearing impairments and other disabilities? Just take a look at this book. Helena's older students who are much more knowledgable on Brasilian sign language regularly create books for their younger peers and use it to tutor them. You don't have to think too hard about what the positive flow on effects are from having such a resource.