ZooBurst is a tool that allows students to create their own pop-up books. Designed with digital storytelling in mind, ZooBurst encourages creative thinking through the marriage of visuals and text. This resource offers an alternative to storyboards in the developmental process of a digital movie, or a unique format for digital storytelling end products.
Although ZooBurst offers paid subscriptions for schools, educators, students, and individual users, a free plan allows visitors to experiment with this resource before using it in the classroom. After completing registration, and creating a profile, a "new book" button appears to help users start working on a new project. Students should have a topic in mind, as well as an idea for how their story will unfold, before filling out the "name," "description," and "privacy" fields. It would best for students to set privacy to "only me" or "only people with a valid password" at first; students and teachers can decide to convert a project to public display after its completion.
Before editing the pop-up book's color scheme and overall design, it would be helpful for students to draft a preliminary storyboard. The success of any storytelling project rests on establishing characters, an opening "hook," and a logical conclusion. Students should also consider how many pages are needed to effectively tell their story. Moreover, history students should think about the historical significance of their topic and how digital storytelling through ZooBurst can enhance learning for viewers.
Once a draft project is established, students can begin editing the pop-up book's appearance: page, horizon, ground, and sky colors. Images can be uploaded and attached to specific pages by simply clicking on the image thumbnail. Once placed in the pop-up book, any image can be rotated, resized, dragged forward or backward, and angled as desired. Narrative text can be added to each page, and word balloons added to each image. In addition, users can control the delay and time of each image's "pop."
Once a pop-up book is finalized, users can change privacy settings, view their finished products, and copy the "embed" code if projects will be hosted on a course blog. ZooBurst books can also be shared with others using the "share" feature or even by adding the product to the site's gallery page.
ZooBurst is an easy tool for students of all ages. Younger students will need help collecting images and saving them to a folder on a computer. Uploading new images can be tricky for young computer users, but the rest of the pop-up book creation process is made easy by ZooBurst's layout and navigation. In this 2nd-grade project, a student discusses the novel and television series Little House on the Prairie and its foundation in U.S. history. Another project provides a brief history of the War of 1812. Teachers and students will also find the ease of building a pop-up book to be helpful when dealing with specific events like Thanksgiving.
Students in middle and high school can also use ZooBurst effectively. This production on North Carolina history and government (at the state and local level) would correlate well with that state's 8th- and 10th-grade social studies objectives. ZooBurst can also function well for biographical projects, such as this look at Thomas Paine.
For added features, such as sound and expanded page numbers, teachers should examine the pricing page for a detailed comparison. The free plan is a good start to experiment with ZooBurst, but the premium and school license features may prove beneficial for curricular needs.