Digital Storytelling- Part VII Mixbook

Storytelling has existed since the beginning of time as a form of human interaction. It evolved from cave paintings and oral transmission of how and why our people existed and as an explanation of the world around us to troubadours who traveled the country to inform others of news and happenings of places and people far away.

As human interaction and the range of imagination changed over time, so have the methods that allow storytelling to reach a wider audience and allow us to preserve a voice, an image and a moment in time for posterity in a way that was never possible before.

The Digital Storytelling tools posts, such as Moviemaker , Photostory , Google Maps or VoiceThread , are new kinds of tools that create a final “story product” in a different media than we were used to before. The use of technology tools has created a new process and new forms of storytelling.

We can easily use different kinds of media and rearrange them in new ways. We can now publish and share them with the world for enjoyment or to solicit their perspective or information. It is a new way of documenting our history, our way of looking at the world, of materializing our memories, or of passing on to the next generation what is important to us.

Mixbook.com is web-based but sets itself apart from the previously mentioned tools. It allows us to use storytelling in a way that we all are already comfortable and familiar with. The process does not create a new media, such as a podcast, a video clip uploaded to YouTube or a VoiceThread embedded in a blog or wiki, that most people are still getting comfortable in handling. Mixbook is a tool that allows anyone to tell a story by creating and publish it as a book!

With images and/or text, anyone can create a photo book, an illustrated story, or a scrapbook. The ratio of text and images is up to. What makes Mixbook so attractive and what earned itself a spot as a Web 2.0 tool, is its ability to allow collaboration among many authors of the same book. No need to sit next to each other on the same computer. Collaborators can be classmates or teachers within the same school or who live a world away from each other.

Mixbook allows you to create books with your friends and family  about the things that are important in your life. Mixbooks can be shared online or as coffee-table quality printed books.

Get started by creating an account with Mixbook.

Once logged in, simply click on the “Create” tab.

Once you click “Create Mixbook” , you now have a choice between allowing them to AutoMix the images for you or to create the layout from scratch. You an always change your mind later too.

Get started by uploading the images you want to use in your book. These can be photos, scanned in illustrations or other momentums. You can choose from a wide array of sources where to upload your images. I prefer uploading directly from my computer or through the integration with Flickr.com , where I have an account.

Once I allow Mixbook to access my Flickr account, it is as simple as selecting the image set to locate the images for the book and selecting each image by clicking on it. In order to select multiple images, hold down the CTRL key before selecting more images.

Once images/photos are uploaded, make sure the correct page is selected that you want to work on, then click on the “Layout” tab and choose from many layouts available. These layouts are images or text only or a combination of both. You can choose to include 0-21 images per page.

Once you have the layout selected, go back to the “Photos” tab, select an image and drag and drop it into the workspace of the page on the right. Don’t worry you can always change your layout later and the images you have selected will adjust.

Once the layout is set, you can move on to the “Background” tab and choose a sold colored background or scrapbook like design backgrounds. Click on background of your choice and it will be instantly displayed in the preview window. Change as many times as you like.

In order to add and select a new page in a double page layout, click on the green circle with the plus sign. You are immediately ready to choose your layout and drag and drop images from your “Photos” tab.  You can also add or delete a page from the Page Tools menu.

Once your images are placed in the layout, you can continue manipulating them by selecting each individually. You can edit and personalize the previously chosen layout by rotating the frames, and changing their color, width and style. You can also zoom in or out of each image within a frame or send the entire image with frame to the back or bring it to the front of the page.

In order to delete an image, simply select it, move your mouse over the trashcan a click.

When you have completed your book, it is time to publish it, which allows you to purchase a hard copy of the book or distribute a link for others to order your book from the company.
You can also go back to the main page of your book, scroll down and find the code that allows you to embed your mixbook into your blog, website or wiki.

Check out the following examples and ideas how to Mixbook as a tool to tell a story with your students.