Saturday, February 4, 2012

Storytelling with Scribble Press

Scribble Press is another storytelling app. It is currently free and is for iPad only. In some ways it is very similar to StoryKit.

Scribble Press has 50 built-in story templates that you can use as starting points for a story, or you can choose to start with a blank book. I like the fact that even if you start with a template story you can add to the text or edit it once it is on the pages of your book. You can also add more pages if you want to. Like StoryKit, there are no choices of font or font size.

There are plenty of options for illustrating your story. There is a vast array of 'markers' in many colors - enough to provide plenty of options, but not an infinite color palette that would make it difficult to match a color if you wanted to. If you prefer, you can add a photo to a page by taking one with the iPad 2 camera or choosing one from your own photo gallery on your iPad. There are also some 'stickers' included that allow you to quickly add some images to your story.

Finished stories can be read in the app itself by tapping on the front cover of the book to open it. Stories can also be saved from the app as an ePub file that can be added to iBooks to build a library of student-created books on the iPad. Unlike some other ePub books, you cannot change the font size in the book when you are reading it in iBooks.

Stories can also be shared by choosing "Email a link" which uploads them to the Scribble Press website and sends an email with the address of the story to anyone you send the email message to. Your iPad must be set up to send email to do this! Sharing a story this way does not include it in Scribble Press/ public library of books - only people who have the address can access the story. You could choose to email the link directly to people you'd like to have read the stories, or if you have a website you could link directly to your Scribble Press story from a webpage. (For some reason my school Gmail account dropped the message from Scribble Press into the spam folder - so if you send the link via email and it does not seem to show up, check your spam folder!) When visitors follow the link they can browse the story online or they can download the story as an ePub file for viewing on their own mobile device. They can choose three different formats, including for iOS and Nook. Kindle readers will need to convert the file - search for how to open an ePub file on a Kindle and you'll find lots of advice.

By choosing "Publish in Gallery" you can also choose to submit your story to be included in Scribble Press' public library of stories. All books that are to be shared publically are held for 24 hours so Scribble Press can make sure all the content is kid-friendly! Once a story has been uploaded to Scribble Press it is available for anyone to read and download.

The app is practical to use on a shared iPad because a story in progress can simply be saved. The book is saved to the 'My Books' shelf and when you open it up again instead of tapping on it to read it, you can choose Edit from the menu underneath the front cover.

The 'Order' button offers the option of paying to have stories printed. I don't see schools particularly wanting to take advantage of this option but families might. Scribble Press says single page stories can be printed on a clipboard, puzzle, notebook, or greeting card - but in reality this means the artwork from a single page story can be published as the text is removed for these products!

There are a couple of improvements I would like to see in this app. I would like to see the option of being able to add students' voices to their stories because as a language teacher I see my kids getting enormous value out of recording their stories in StoryKit or GarageBand. I would also like to be able to move the text area on a page, as I can in StoryKit, so that it is not always at the bottom of the page. Nonetheless, as a free app it is definitely worth downloading! I can see students and teachers getting lots of use out of it.

The developer says:
Scribble Press for iPad includes:
- 50 story templates
- over 500 drawing tools, including markers and stamps in a vast array of colors
- a unique sticker collection
- your own photo library
- an easy and fun to use book layout tool
- shopping cart so you can order printed copies of your book and other cool stuff
- sharing tools that make it easy to show the world – or just your family and friends – your great creation PLUS, you can use Scribble Press for iPad to read books created by other kids, from all around the world!
Here's a video tour of Scribble Press from the developer: 

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