If you’ve been to any teachers conferences recently or like to float around education websites, you’ll know that “Storytelling” has been a growing buzzword for quite a while.
As a student, I remember loving to put together storyboards, dioramas, books, and anything to explain my learning visually. At the time, however, I spent more time trying to figure out how to make things look right than I did making sure the content was great.
Enter Comic Life.
For years, the great folks at Plasq have been building and tweaking this excellent app to help people tell stories without spending all the time I did cutting things out with scissors, running to the photocopier, making them fit again, re-trying, and then scrapping the whole effort just to start over again.
Storytelling as a Visual Medium
I remember dabbling with comics as an exploratory realm as a kid, but soon found myself frustrated with figuring out layouts and my gross inability to draw a picture. Comic Life nicely cleans up those two problem areas by providing its users with beautiful templates and the ability to drag and drop photos directly into the panels.
This can create endless PBL lessons as you can encourage your kids to work together to take pictures (less discouragement for students who feel that stick figures are not a viable art form) and plan out exactly what everything needs to look like. Soon you’ll notice that your students are purely focused on content and little time is spent on constructing the structure of the presentation.
An Intro to Comic Life
Check out this simple introduction to Comic Life to get you started:
The Journey Continues…
A video like this is, of course, just the beginning. The good folks at Plasq are working hard to constantly update and add to Comic Life. Additionally, I’d expect that you’ll find that once you start playing with Comic Life, you’re going to want to do more and more with it. I’ve got friends who use it for their Facebook status updates and for recaps of trips they’ve taken.
I’d recommend that you start simply, and let things build as you work with it. The templates they give you are PLENTY to keep your class satisfied for a year, at least, and then as you become a master of the app, you can share your learning with your students.
If you make any great comics with your class, be sure to share it with me here or on twitter!