Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Art, collaboration, Create, Interactive book, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Technology, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 07-06-2012
Tags: book, collaboration, mixbook, photo book, printed book, published writing, yearbook
What it is: Mixbook saved us this year in a BIG way. Being our first year as a school, we didn’t want to use a big yearbook publishing company to create our first yearbook. We wanted to be able to get as much of the year in as possible (most yearbook companies have mid-year deadlines), we were only having 60 made (small potatoes for big yearbook companies), and we wanted to be able to print one-offs if we needed to. We started creating in Shutterfly, it was a familiar program, most of our helpers had used it for personal books so the learning curve was small. And then the world came crashing down. It was the day before the deadline to get our order in so that it would make it before the school year ended. Two of us logged in at the same time and apparently properly confused the system and lost the whole thing. All 30 pages of it. After throwing a pity party, trying to get in touch with Shutterfly (unsuccessfully), and declaring that there would be no yearbook, I did what anyone would do- I took my pity party to Twitter.
I never did hear from Shutterfly. You know who did come to the rescue? Mixbook. They saw my pity party tweet, apologized for our bad fortune, offered their assistance and let us know that they would be happy to help in any way they could. I was familiar with Mixbook but hadn’t used it before. I hopped onto the Mixbook site and immediately liked what I saw:
- The interface is incredibly easy to use.
- It allows collaborative working and tells you when someone else is editing the book so you don’t override each other.
- It has great templates.
- It has great customization options.
- The customer service is unmatched. Honestly, any time we had a question/comment/problem they helped within minutes. During business hours they have a dynamite online chat support system. When it wasn’t normal business hours their Twitter genius would get back to me. Emails were answered within hours.
- Finished books can be viewed and shared for free online.
- They were incredibly helpful in keeping the price of each book reasonable for us. They extended coupon codes, gave us bulk purchase discounts, and rushed our order so that it would get to us with plenty of time to spare.
How to integrate Mixbook into the classroom: As we experienced, Mixbook is a fantastic place to make school or classroom yearbooks. Despite the short timeline, we enjoyed creating our yearbooks and are glad to have our first year commemorated so beautifully. At the bottom of each page, we created a running timeline of everything that happened in our first year as a school.
Because it is so easy to customize each page, students could use Mixbook to create “published” portfolios or writing. Take pictures of student work throughout the year, keep a folder for each student. At the end of the year, students can create a Mixbook of their work. They can include the pictures of their work and add text boxes where they reflect on their learning or explain the project. For original writing, students can create digital or hand drawn illustrations that get scanned and uploaded to the Mixbook pages. Students can type the story directly in Mixbook. The finished book can be shared for free online, parents will have the option to purchase the book if they would like to.
A photo calendar would be a great way to commemorate a school year and would make an awesome end of the year gift to your students. Each month can include projects and snapshots of what you did throughout the year.
Create specialized cards and thank you stationary for your classroom. Any time you need it, it will be ready to go and more special for your students.
Group projects are easy to create with Mixbook. The collaboration ability is wonderful! You could use Mixbook with colleagues to create custom learning guides that you can get printed.
Please leave a comment and share how you are using Mixbook in your classroom!