eBooks and Comic Tools for the Classroom

I was asked recently about how to have students create eBooks. EBooks are simply work that is published online. More often than not, authors use common tools such as word to create PDFs. There is also what is called the “Open eBook” format and “EPUB” format which are the most commonly used formats for publishing eBooks. Some software allows the writer to export documents to some of these formats (Word and Pages), and some authors hire people to convert their writing for them prior to publishing their work through Nook, Amazon, or iTunes. You can even get a word file converted for free to the Kindle by using https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin. Additionally  there are other ways to publish work out their that are more accessible to students, such as http://www.lulu.com/us/en and http://www.smashwords.com/. However, as teachers, we need to use great caution when assisting students in self-publishing, and the legalities of such an endeavor are beyond my knowledge.

Some of the really cool software out their for working with eBooks can range from free software, such as http://www.apple.com/ibooks-author/, to very expensive expensive software, such as http://www.adobe.com/products/indesign.html. Most of these are out of reach for us as teachers in the classroom, but may be options for students who have parents that are actively participating in the process of having their kids pursue the publishing of their work.

However, if your students are just interested in playing with the idea of hosting documents online and working with a story or piece of writing online to give them the feel of creating an “eBook” like experience, I think there are a few webpages and tools that could assist students and teachers, such as:

Digital comic creation creates a similar problem. To publish a comic or graphic novel, you need to use a CBZ or CBR format. This is more difficult than simply exporting a word document to the EPUB format. Most people use either WinZip or WinRAR to accomplish this.

However, there are many interesting websites and apps that allow students and teachers to explore comic design in the classroom.

Sites:

http://www.comiker.com/ – Simple comic strip maker.

http://www.pixton.com/ – A place to make and share comics.

http://www.toondoospaces.com/ – Website for making simple comics.

http://www.comicmaster.org.uk/ – Website for creating short graphic novels.

http://www.bitstrips.com/ – Website for creating custom avatars and short comics.

http://chogger.com/ – Simple Comic builder to draw short strips and infographics.

http://comiclife.com/ – Software to make comics for Mac or Windows, costs $29.99.

http://www.sketchup.com/product/newin7.html – Awesome way to make really cool 3D models.

http://manga.smithmicro.com/ – Expensive software for creating comics, costs $79.99.

http://www.summitsoftcorp.com/lifestyle-software/comic-creator.html – Probably the cheapest option for comic creation software at $19.99.

http://www.autodesk.com/products/sketchbook-pro/overview – A common software that is also available for iPads and Android tablets for a smaller fee, costs $59.00.

http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop.html – Industry standard, but very expensive!

Apps:

Comicbook! – App that allows you to use pictures and drawings to create a comic strip.

iMockups – App for wire framing a comic strip or other pictures.

Brushes – App for painting.

Sketchbook Pro– App for drawing and coloring.

Comic Strip – Another app that allows the user to select pictures and art from their photos to create a comic strip.

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