Thursday, March 24, 2011

Free Tools Challenge #3: Bitstrips for Schools – Comics as a learning tool | Teacher Challenge

  • use the comic-making website Bitstrips for Schools to assign your students a comic-based activity.
  • The goal is for them to create a comic that demonstrates their understanding of a topic or concept that you’ve taught in class.
  • Overview:

    In my day, reading comics in school was in the same category of forbidden activities as chewing gum and making paper planes. Confiscation was guaranteed. Luckily for kids today, perspectives have shifted, with more and more teachers starting to embrace comics as a tool to engage students and stimulate their interest in reading.

    An idea that’s getting less attention so far is the potential comics have to improve students’ writing. This isn’t too surprising, since relatively few kids have the combination of patience and artistic skill needed to hand-draw comic strips. That’s where Bitstrips for Schools comes in. It’s a web-based resource that enables any student to write their own great-looking, original comic strips without having to draw. Over 5,000 schools are using Bitstrips for Schools so far, making over 20,000 new comics every day!

    The site makes the process of writing visual, personal and fun. It features an avatar maker that lets students design unique, fully poseable cartoon avatars, and a comic builder that lets them create and star in their own curriculum-connected comics. There are hundreds of backgrounds, props and effects to work with, and an image-uploading tool for incorporating photos. By removing drawing from the equation, students have time to focus their attention on composition, sequencing, and most importantly, writing.

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