FlipSnack

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Potentially pricey online book-design tool neat but limited.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The site gives kids an opportunity to be creative, express themselves, and practice writing skills.

Violence

Although most books have an educational bent, kids can uncover some with graphic content on serial killers, health issues, and other topics, including gun-related books with titles like My First Gun I Shot.

Sex

Searching for terms like sex and porn leads users to books on sexual positions and other topics with nude photos and comics.

Language

Some user-submitted book titles contain words like s--t, d--n, and f--k, but users have to search to find them.

Consumerism

Searches turn up books highlighting companies and products; FlipSnack also frequently encourages users to upgrade to a paid subscription, and they can't download books without spending at least $19.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Users have posted cocktail recipes, but there are surprisingly few pro-drug and smoking books.
 
Privacy & safety

User-created books are public; you can't make a book private unless you have a paid VIP plan. Users can also include website and blog addresses in their public profiles. However, you have to be logged in to Facebook to post comments, which may help reduce the chance kids will directly interact with strangers.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that FlipSnack is an online publishing platform for uploading predesigned content to make a "flippable" virtual book. Kids can sign in to use the interactive publishing tool with their Facebook, Twitter, Google, or Yahoo accounts, or they can enter a first name, email, and password to register. There's no age verification during registration, and due to some unsavory user-submitted book content, parents may want to discourage younger kids from using the site. Content ranges from a brick factory's catalog to sex manuals; others range from children's books to magazines and reports to cookbooks. To really make a quality, full-length book, you'll have to upgrade to a premium account.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • storytelling
  • presenting to others
  • reading

Social Studies

  • exploration

Arts

  • photography

Skills

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • presenting

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Users have to be logged in to Facebook to post comments, which can deter kids from getting valuable book feedback. Without a paid subscription, the tool has some size, download, and other limitations, which also hampers the experience.

Learning Approach

The site has limited academic content. Pages with both words and images have to be designed offline and uploaded; it's unfortunate the process isn't more interactive or creative within the site itself.

Support

Users can save and edit books, see viewer stats, and include tool tips in 20-plus languages. A blog includes a few art- and history-related lesson plans and instruction ideas but few other materials to enhance the site's educational value.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • storytelling
  • presenting to others
  • reading

Social Studies

  • exploration

Arts

  • photography

Skills

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • presenting

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn about various topics and practice reading with user-submitted books. The tool can, in theory, provide storytelling and self-expression practice. However, kids can get code to embed only three books without paying something, and users need to work offline to make books with words and images. FlipSnack doesn't let you add text; without using an external design program, kids can only make picture books -- eliminating any potential writing lesson, which can seriously reduce the educational value FlipSnack's free version offers.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Brereton

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What's it about?

Kids can use FLIPSNACK to make and share books. Setup should be fairly easy; you give the book a name and description, upload or drag-and-drop precreated JPG or PDF files, add comments, customize the cover color and texture, background color, and other elements, and then publish. However, the tool doesn't include an overview of the instructions, and its limitations are somewhat unclear at first. To share a book, users can send a dedicated link or share it via email or a social media site. They also can view select user-created books or enter search terms to find books on specific topics.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 
FlipSnack bills itself as a way to create interactive online books. Users can upload PDF or JPG files, customize a few elements, such as the background and cover, and create nice-looking digital books with pages that turn when you click on them. The site has a lot of potential, but it also has some fairly big flaws. The book-creation tool can be confusing to use; aside from a FAQ, there isn't much instruction (though a 24/7 chat option can help clear up major questions). Process steps include brief descriptions but don't mention some potentially frustrating issues, including the fact that users can't create books with written content and images unless they design them offline, using another program, and then upload those PDFs into the FlipSnack tool. Also, the free version falls short of creating truly interactive digital books: You can't include music or videos, and users have to be logged in to Facebook to comment on the work. Free books must be 15 pages or less; you can only embed three, which will contain a watermark; and final versions can't be downloaded to your desktop unless you have a paid subscription or buy at least 10 points, which cost $19. Those constraints place some serious restrictions on kids' creativity -- and, ultimately, may inhibit their ability to use the site.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how different formats help tell stories. Can your child identify the difference between stories that are verbally told, written, or told in a picture book?
  •  
  • Ask your child how using both words and images can help explain something better that only text. Can your child think of any examples?

  • Users can sign in to FlipSnack using Facebook. What kinds of issues could arise from posting books you've created publicly? Use our Social Network Tips as a guide to control privacy settings on sites like Facebook.

Website details

Genre:Creating
Pricing structure:Free

This review of FlipSnack was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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