This post is a bit of an update to one that I wrote almost two years ago, about a tool called Zooburst. Then it was in Alpha stages and to sign-up you needed to be approved and it took a while, now this is an instant process and works in seconds.

Before I get to the actual tool (it makes online books), I want to praise the sign-up process.

You can get free accounts which are limited to a few books or paid accounts with lots of additional benefits. For just $50 we have got full accounts for 1 teacher and up to 250 students. Bargain.

I can also choose usernames, it uploads via CSV and appends a number to the end of the login, but registering, paying and adding 180 student (all of our Key Stage 2) took 5 minutes. All online tools should be this simple.

When I log-in with my teacher account I can see all of the books created by all pupils within my school and in a REALLY nice feature, so can they. This means that we can have a look at what is happening and get inspiration from others.

So the setup, management and general running of the software is incredible, but what about the actual tool itself?

Well in a nutshell, it allows users to create popup books. You choose colours for your pages and background, drag images on, add text and you’re done. More advanced users will add sound to their characters instead of text but essentially, it is just really sweet and gorgeous to look at. To add dialogue to each page you can either use the box at the bottom or add speech bubbles to each character or item.

As a teacher I can also add images to the image bank so that my class have the same images to use, but to be honest, they are all very capable of uploading pictures they have on their computer or using the (very good) clipart library built-in to the software.

When the book is finished, it even embeds into blogs or websites too. Oh and because we’ve paid for the license, we can also download our book to read offline if we like too.

There is a fancy augmented reality thing built-in too but to be honest, I’d ignore this. It works, but it isn’t necessary at all.

So give Zooburst a try and see how you get on. I think it is an amazing tool that does a job very well and provides an excellent interface for creating and managing users and their content.