Saturday, July 9, 2011

Simple Booklets: Good Potential, Not Quite There

I spent the morning playing around with Simple Booklets,  a new (as far as I can tell) 2.0 app.  I love the potential of this app for education.  It allows users to create a variety of multimedia pamphlets, posters and booklets.  Similar to Glogster, but it allows pages.  I think I'll use it for a  quick Destiny tutorial, rather than the video I planned to create.

Here is an example from the playing around I did this morning, just to show some of the features.  Using the now standard drag-and-drop interface,  I was able to embed a website (the blog), as well as a Google form survey (on page 2).  You can also add music, video and widgets, embed code and link with social media.  Cool idea, right? 

There are additional features you can buy with the "Pro" version, which is only $10/year.  Certainly a bargain!

The app is not without problems, however.

1)  I chose a yellow notebook paper background for my booklet.  As you can see, however, it's not showing.

2)  While the app offers both business and education templates,  I couldn't actually edit any of them. It may have been user error, but if so, it was user error that a relatively tech-savvy user couldn't figure out.  Not good.  Moreover, the templates themselves lack in creativity, I must say.  I would discourage students from using them.

3) While the app offers some nifty-looking badges and stickers, the text is not editable.

4)  Either the color of the arrows is stuck at an un-appealing gray, or, again, I could not figure out how to edit the color.

5.  The shadow tool syncs with the bounding box, not the object.  For example, when I added an arrow and wanted to create a shadow effect, the shadow was of the box around the arrow, not the arrow itself.

The only huge issue here is the template problem.  I will certainly use this myself,  and will offer it to students as an option for specific assignments next year.  One hopes future software updates will address some of the issues.

UPDATE: Hmmm. Apparently embedding is also an issue. It shows the first page, but you can't click through to second page. That is a BIG problem. So, really, this app is NOT ready for prime-time.

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