Thursday, May 28, 2015

Make Beliefs Comix


As a technology integration specialist, I'm a firm believer in utilizing technologies that naturally fit in the classroom that are time efficient and convenient for both the student and the teacher. There are quite a few tools out there that allow students to create custom comic strips. Most of them are either not free or they are too tedious to make it worthwhile recommending to teachers due to time constraints in the classroom...that is unless the teacher specifically asks for it. Make Beliefs Comix solves that issue.

How to Make a Comic!

Publishing

There are also fun ways that the students to publish their comics. Students could post on a class blog, share in a class Google Slides presentation, upload to a shared Google Drive folder or even print them to hang around the room. Teachers could also use their class Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook page to share with the community members. Social media provides an exciting opportunity to keep families informed in the educational process. What better way to engage parents than by posting a class set of comics made by their kids?

If students require more than one comic to complete a project, they could piece them together in a Google Slides presentation, Keynote, or PowerPoint. Keynote and Powerpoint already have a voice recording option within the program. The voice over option would really enhance the project without much extra time spent. On Google slides, Students could record the presentation using a screencasting tool like Screencastify or Snagit. On an iPad, they could piece the images together and do a voice over using Shadow Puppet or 30 Hands. Any screencasting tool would get the job done. 

More Resources

Make Beliefs Comics also provides other great resources and materials for teachers to use. There are lesson plans, various language options, special needs resources, printables, writing tools and much more. These tools are all available toward the bottom of the site and they are for free. 


Other Alternatives

Earlier this week, one of my colleagues was having students create comic strips in the traditional manner with paper and colored pencils. She wanted the project digitized because of the ease at which students can share their work. So the students took pictures of their comic strip, inserted them into Shadow Puppet, and recorded their voice reading the comic aloud. It only took a few more minutes for the students to publish their comic in this format. Combining traditional methods with newer technologies provides a fun twist to the learning experience.

Another fantastic tool that you can use is Storyboard That. It gives the students more options and would work better if more time was allotted for a project. With Storyboard That, students can actually manipulate the individual parts of the characters. This requires quite a bit of time and more of a learning curve. It would make a good project for students to complete both at school and as homework. The great part is, the website is both computer and tablet friendly. No special app is required.