Tuesday 16 November 2010

Comics in the Classroom

This is something I will come back to once I have some more examples of what teachers have been doing with it. For my 'Foundations of Educational Technology' class, we were asked to make a comic strip about something that had been up for discussion in one of the modules. Here is the one that I did:

This was a lot of fun to work on.  I took the picture with my Android phone using an app that made it look like a black and white line drawing (Camera 360) then I ran it through a pile of Photoshop filters until I got the look I wanted.  The story in the strip is from a news story I heard on CCTV9 that I found sort of ironic.  But, this took me quite a while to do.  I'm sure that most teachers aren't interested in this sort of thing.  But it did get me thinking about uses for comic strips in the classroom and I started looking for other tools.

Here are 4 online tools that I presented to our teachers:

StripCreator:  This one is really easy to use, but the comic strips can't be embedded.  You will need to print them out.

Pixton:  This one is the most powerful of the four but takes a little more time to get things the way you want.

MakeBeliefsComix:  Really cute.  Really basic.

ToonDoo:  This one is probably the best all-round choice.  it has a lot of flexibility and a lot of images and characters to choose from.  This one was very popular with my fellow MET students.

In the classroom, I found comic strips as a useful tool to get students to make storyboards while they were writing stories.  They also made a nice alternative to journal writing for ESOL students who found the visual elements helpful in expressing their ideas.  And putting together a comic strip isn't as simple as it seems.  When you only have 4 or 4 frames to tell your story, you really need to distill it down to its essence.  It is a good activity for reflection at the end of a unit.  If you have more ideas about how to use comic strips in the classroom, please share.  You are welcome to add your own comments.

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