Step-by-Step: How to Create a Collaborative Class eBook

Previously, I have published the following posts about creating eBooks:

More and more classrooms are wanting to take their already created content and turn it into an eBook to share with parents, grandparents and the community who own eReaders.

Here are some possible ideas to create content:

  • Any Unit of Study
  • Book Report Anthology
  • Poem Anthology
  • Visual Quotes Collection
  • Create your own Textbook
  • Essay Collection about a Specific Topic
  • Drawing/Painting Collection
  • Portfolio

So, how do you create a collaborative CLASSROOM eBook? If you only have one iPad available, it is not such a big problem.  Each student waits for a turn to add their page(s) (or double page) to the book as the iPad gets passed around. What if you have a class set of iPads and you want all your students working on their pages at the same time?

Here is our Step-by-Step procedure (we are using the BookCreator app).

1. Students work on their individual iPads or on group iPads
2. Students create page(s) for the collaborative book by inserting images and text.
3. In order to be able to insert images, the images need to be in the iPad Photo Gallery.

To get images into the gallery, students can:

  • search for public domain or creative commons images on the web (via Safari) and save the image to the iPad Photo Gallery by holding a finger for a few seconds on the image until a drop down list pops up > choose “Save Image”. This will automatically place the image into your Photo Gallery.
  • Take a picture with the iPad’s built in camera (iPad2). Once the picture is taken, it is automatically placed into the iPad Photo Gallery. This works great if students have illustrated a picture on a paper that they want to include in their eBook
  • iOS5 allows you to edit your images directly in the Photo Gallery. Students can rotate, enhance, take red-eye out and crop the image before inserting it into their BookCreator page.

To insert an image into the BookCreator app, tap the icon on the top right of the app and choose the image from the camera roll.

4. To insert text into the page, students tap on the Text icon on the upper right of the app.

  • A keyboard will pop up for students to type in their text or they can copy and paste a text they have written in an email, document or blog post, etc.
  • To copy and past, simply go to the text that you want to copy, hold you finger on the text for a few seconds, choose select or select all, then choose copy. Go back to the text field in BookCreator, hold your finger down in the text field for a few seconds and tap the paste bubble to insert the copied text.

5. To edit or delete an image or text, tap on the “i” in the upper right of the BookCreator app.

  • edit the size of the text
  • edit the font of the text
  • edit font color
  • edit the alignment
  • choose bold, italic or underlined

You can also edit the background color of the page, by tapping the “i” when there is no text nor image selected previously.

6. Once students have created their page(s), they will take a screenshot of each page, edit the image and email them to the teacher, who will collect all the images to create a “main” book with the BookCreator app on a specified “main” iPad.


  • Taking a screenshot: Hold down the On/Off button at the same time as the “Home” button. You will hear the sound of an image taken as well as see the screen disappear for just a second and then return.

Edit Image

  • The image just taken is automatically placed into the iPad’s Photo Gallery.
  • Tap “Edit” and choose “Crop” to format the image to include ONLY the page. Drag the four corners of the crop box  to crop out the time, etc on top bar as well as the arrows on the left or right side. Choose crop then save.


Once the image is cropped, it is ready to send as an e-mail attachment to the “main” iPad. The “main” iPad is the one that will pull in all the individual student pages and create the final copy of the eBook.

  • Tap anywhere on the image. A top navigation bar will pop up for a few moments. If you lose it, simple tap the image again.
  • Tap on the icon with the arrow on the top right of the Photo Gallery, then choose “Email Photo”.

  • type the email address of the “main” iPad in the “To:” section.
  • enter a subject line- Student’s name or anticipated page number in the final book.
  • tap the send button

7. On the “main” iPad:

  • open each email from students and save the attached image into the photo gallery (by holding down one finger until “Save Image” button pops up)
  • all the images will be saved in the “main iPads” Photo Gallery
  • open up the BookCreator app and insert each student image on a new page, arrange pages in desired order, add a creative book cover with title and authors’ names.
  • open finished BookCreator file in iBook to read collaborative classroom eBook.

Downside: Since all the text on the pages are now images, the built-in dictionary in iBooks will not work.