It’s no secret that children love stories, particularly with visually pleasing pictures. Storybooks are always a crowd pleaser: not only do kids love them, but they can also be valuable learning tools. Books help children learn vocabulary, sound out words, and use their imagination. Imagine the possibilities if children could create their own stories! Students can then practice not only their reading but their writing too, stretching their brains even further.
I originally found ArtisanCam Picture Book Maker through Tammy’s Technology Tips for Teachers, a website with many great resources for current and future educators. Reinforcing Prepositions with the ArtisanCam Picture Book Maker (as seen on Monarch’s Librarian Blog) gives an in-depth example of how it could be used for a classroom purpose. With Picture Book Maker, you can use a variety of backgrounds, stickers, and layouts to create your own storybook.
This Youtube video below by Adam Bellow is a great overview of how to use ArtisanCam Picture Book Maker. It explains how to use the different features as well as how to apply it to a classroom setting. Check it out!
To create your book, you can choose if you want to start with the cover, pages, or back. A variety of backgrounds are available to choose from which, when picked, will fill up the spread of the pages.
There are also four animals to choose from to make a scene with. Once an animal is selected, you can adjust the size of it, as well as what action it is doing. There are several variations of positions and expressions for each animal. Other decorations to the scene are provided too, including clouds, trees, fences, balls, and more. If you want to delete an item, simply drag it over to the bottom right where it says “bin” and it will disappear.
Students are able to add text to the pages wherever they would like. Click the pencil and then the page and a text box will appear. You may type however much you choose and adjust the size of the text just as you would with any of the stickers.
When you are done with your book and wish to save it, press “finish book.” You will be given the options to send, print, or further edit your storybook. It is important to note that these books cannot be saved to your computer, so if you wish to keep a copy of your book, you should email it to yourself or a friend. The form provided allows you to send it over and over again to different people if you like and adds the book to the gallery. When choosing to print your book, a popup appears giving instructions on how to fold the story to make it look like a real book.
ArtisanCam Picture Book Maker is a great tool for teachers and students. Teachers can use it to explain information that is immediately relevant to their lessons. Students can be creative and innovative while practicing their writing and technology skills. A great use for this cool tool would be for students to be asked to create a story using the vocabulary/spelling words they were assigned that week. Students can also play with the size of different animals and objects, allowing them to practice words relating to location such as, “close,” “far,” “near,” “above,” etc.
Both a feature and drawback of this tool are the limitations relating to choices of stickers and designs. It can be unhelpful if a teacher wishes to have the students discuss something other than animals, however, if the main point is to discuss adverbs or adjectives, the few options can be beneficial. Too often students get caught up in the aesthetics of assignments and the actual material gets lost on them; Picture Book Maker produces visually appealing stories without too many distractions that students will obsess over for hours.
A blog post named Picture Maker found on the Higher Order Learning Blog explains the limitations of the site and offers ways to work around them. A problem with Picture Book Maker is that the stories can only be 3 pages long, so the author suggests challenging students to make a book series to further develop their ideas. He also offers the idea of putting screenshots into iMovie so students can narrate the stories and add special effects. Definitely check out the post and comment below your thoughts about these creative solutions.
So tell me what you think! Would you use Picture Book Maker in your classroom? Have you used any tool similar to this before? Give it a try and make your own story! And while you’re at it, check out my own story made with Picture Book Maker and look at the related links below.
- Culture Street: ArtisanCam is no longer being updated, so many activities once used on ArtisanCam are now being more frequently updated on this website. It only takes a quick and free sign-up to be able to use all it has to offer, including the Picture Book Maker!
- Picture Book Maker blog post : a post reviewing Picture Book Maker on iLearn Technology, a blog entirely dedicated to review websites related to integrating technology into the classroom
- Comic Book Maker: also by ArtisanCam (and available on Culture Street too,) a similar layout but with more complex and mature graphics that will appear to an older classroom