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Posts Tagged ‘ebooks’

BookCreator app (and a few other things!) for Language Learning – LW2014

Sunday, April 13th, 2014
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PicCollage done by one of my pupils!

I presented at Language World as part of a triple act on using iPads in language learning. Joe Dale and Helen Bates preceded me talking about QR codes, sound recording, making screencasts and flipped learning before I took over to talk my favourite app – BookCreator.

I shared how to make a book in BookCreator (free/£2.99), how to add images, sound, videos and hyperlinks; how to change the background, how to make sound buttons invisible and how to avoid copyright issues by using QR codes or hyperlinks to videos! I also showed PicCollage (free) as a way of making my front cover, and Tellagami (free) for adding a “talking head”.

I ran out of time to share how you can combine books into one, meaning that you can make a class book with all learners working separately before putting it all together on one iPad (e.g. save to Dropbox and then open and combine) but I did share the news that BookCreator is now on Android – very popular that one!

You can find out more by checking out my post on iPads here which covers things I shared and much more! You can also have a look at this post to see the process of how my Year3s made their eBooks that I shared.

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And here’s a tutorial I did on using Explain Everything (two years ago)

Explain Everything Explained. from lisibo on Vimeo.

Presentation by Lisa Stevens aka @lisibo about the iPad app Explain Everything (recorded using the app itself) for TeachmeetBrum and TeachMeet iPad. November 8th 2012

Los mellizos del tiempo – The Time Twins

Friday, March 29th, 2013

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Although I love a good book, eBooks are increasingly becoming part of my life for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is that, in an educational / classroom context, an eBook projected onto a IWB / via AppleTV or Reflector app is so much easier to share than a printed text.

I’ve previously written about Calliope, Queen of the Zebras, an iPad app story, and Soy demasiado grande and Le facteur spatial in I can read..eBooks, so I was interested to have a look at some of the more advanced books by bSmall .

Los mellizos de tiempo is one of their original eBooks in the Let’s read series, aimed at older learners who can read independently. This series are bilingual parallel texts with Spanish on one page and English on the other. (Also available in French!)

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“The twins’ grandfather has invented a time-travel watch. Whoosh! The twins suddenly find themselves in Ancient Egypt. But will they ever get home again?”

Having used the CDRom versions of the I can read books, I’m familiar with the double page spread with colourful illustrations. The eBook preserves this and also the ability to have the book read to you. What I like about this book is that there is a separate audio control for Spanish and English text so you can choose the language you wish to hear, unlike the I can read books that I’ve seen where both texts are on the same control. There’s an image scrubber at the bottom of the page that means you can move smoothly from beginning to end of the book or home in on a selected page. Wonderful!

As to the story, it’s quite simple and easy to follow, especially as there’s the support of the English text too. It’s short enough to be used in one go but also long enough to be read in a few ‘episodes’ to a class. I think it would be great to use in the primary classroom as it links so well with the ‘topic’ of Egyptians, or under the ‘learning journey’ of Treasure taken in Year 4 at WCPS. And that got me thinking…

In the next post I’ll be sharing some ideas about linking Spanish and the Egyptians!

I can read… eBooks

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

I was reflecting today how much things have changed since I began teaching – we still used a banda machine (ah, the smell of that fluid!), Spain had the peseta, computers were huge and static, and the www was in its infancy.  Even in the last few years things have changed significantly with the arrival of smartphones and tablets – “fruity” or otherwise ;o)

By coincidence, I’d found that a resource I’ve used as a primary school teacher has now been released in a new format.

When first taught primary languages I discovered the I CAN READ series of books, firstly in French and then in Spanish.  These bilingual books allowed learners to read the simple stories in English and French or Spanish at the same time, meaning that they were never unsure about the meaning of vocabulary. It also made it less ‘risky’ for a learner to choose such a book as they didn’t have the mental block of all the words being ‘foreign’.

Then, as learning became more ‘technological’ and with the advent of the IWB,  Early Start began to market the books as Big Books on CD Rom, offering French Spanish and some German books. This meant that a whole class could read the book together, or have it read to them. They could complete activities collaboratively and discuss the text, focussing on individual items of vocabulary or grammar points like adjectives or exclamations. and of course, individuals could access them and play independently with the sound of the language adding to the reading that was possible with the books.

 

And now bsmallpublishing  have added ebooks to the mixture! Priced £4.99 and available from the iTunes app store, there are currently 10 French and  2 I can read… Spanish titles, and then 3 Let’s read (aimed at older KS2/KS3 readers) eBooks in Spanish and French.

The eBooks all feature a helpful ‘tips and shortcuts’ page which explains how to interact with the book – the eBooks are intuitive but there are certain things, such as how to stop the book from reading in English and skip to the French/Spanish, that are best made explicit from the start.

 

Below are screenshots from two of the books – Soy demasiado grande and Le facteur spatial showing some of the features such as Read to me (press the green triangle), the thumbnail bar that appears so you can skip to the correct page, and the vocabulary/pronunciation page that highlights the key words in the book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bsmall webpage explains –

We have been busy preparing ebook versions of some of our bilingual stories. Our bilingual books are designed as fixed layout, colour ebooks with read aloud capabilities in two languages. They are in the epub format. They are readable on your iPad via the iBooks App and will be available soon for Kobo Vox and Kindle Fire. We’re adding more and more devices/distribution options as we go along so watch this space.

Read a little more about our list’s journey from print to digital on our blog.

And here is a Youtube video demonstrating how the books work using George, le poisson rouge.

I think that the eBooks are great for individual pupil access which is after all the idea of a mobile device. The stories are simple yet appealing, and feature repetition of words and structures, making them very accessible to beginners as well as intermediate learners. If I were to use it as a teaching tool, I would want a way to choose between hearing the English OR the French/Spanish OR both, rather than having to ‘jump in’ as quickly as possible to isolate the French/Spanish story – perhaps a future update might allow this. The vocabulary section is great too – a clear picture dictionary makes it very accessible to personal learning. I might like to see some phrases added to this e.g. me gusta – I like / no me gusta – I don’t like or tengo – I have and quiero – I want in Soy demasiado grande; however, I appreciate that the idea of a picture dictionary is that it is visual and sentences are more difficult to illustrate clearly!

The other great thing about the eBooks is that, once purchased, they go into your iBooks library where you can use all the feature of that app too such as the ability to ask it to speak a word or phrase that you highlight (in any language for which you have the keyboard), define to find out the meaning of words  or the search facility to find every occurrence of a certain word.

There’s a part of me that still loves ‘proper’ books, and I’m not entirely convinced that I’ll ever completely abandon the joy of literally turning pages, but I have to admit that in the language classroom, eBooks are a great tool that allow independent access to stories (and information books of course!) in other languages, not just in written but also in spoken form.