Here’s an online utility that you might want to consider using for student projects – – online book creation sites. Sites like Lulu, XLibris, and Bookemon are free utilities that allow you to create a book, using your own assets (text and images). These sites are well designed, easy and intuitive to use.
In order to build your own book, you go to the site of your choice, create a free account, upload your pictures or text (word documents) and the site creates the book for you. On Lulu and XLibris, you can create your own cover design. In the case of Bookemon, you can go further and design your own layout, adding text boxes, borders, and frames.
Once your book is just as you want it, you can publish it and – if you want – buy a copy. The price of the printed book depends, of course, on a variety of factors (e.g. length, color, type of binding) but you can typically purchase a 50-page physical book for about $20.
On the Lulu site you can list your book in their online catalog for others to purchase and you can offer up ebook versions of it for people to download. On the bookemon site, you can share the online version of your book with others either by providing a link or embedding code into your web site or social networking site.
Here’s a 41-page book on Acadia National Park that one of Cheryl Hollinger’s AP Biology students (from York, PA) created using the Bookemon site. The photos above are pages from this students’ book. Her wonderful creation gives the reader a very good feel for the park – both scenically and biologically. And she was careful to provide references and options for more information at the end.
Poetry, cookbooks, memory books, or books on a topic (like Cheryl did with her students) all sound like useful and creative ways for students to express themselves.