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Digital Comics in School

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Have you ever wanted to create your own comics at school? There are many possibilities to integrate comics, mangas, anime and own made cartoons into your syllabus. It is just a question of creativity and team work, not only between class and teacher, but among teachers too. I have divided the possibilities into groups depending on knowledge, time and resources teachers might have.

1. Fast and easy

To start with, you can use tools that provide everything you want. These links are for English teachers who want their students to write stories and have fun. In this case you just have to think of a story to write and start. The sites are for all ages. Although the cartoons are easy to make, I recommend teachers to practice first, create a little cartoon introducing the topic of your lesson, so your students can see what they will be able to create with the tools.

My favorite site is toondoo because of the speedy success you get with little effort. Cartoons are made very fast, there is a lot for school classes to create and you can test it for free a couple of days. There is a good tutorial on YouTube.  You can publish your work on the toomdoo site or keep it private. The second site offers a school account and animated cartoons goanimate just watch the sample videos and decide which site is best for you.

2. Challenge with Photoshop and crossover projects

For teachers who want a bit of challenge or would even consider starting a crossover project with other colleagues. Use Photoshop. The idea is that students combine their knowledge in three subjects to produce a school comic as a long term project (4-6 weeks) a good combination would be Art, English and Informatics. This is great for youths at secondary school or older. It is not as difficult as it sounds. Here are four Photoshop tutorials teachers and students can follow easily: Tutorial 1, tutorial 2, tutorial 3 and tutorial 4 all made by Zoe Piel. And  Photoshop for experts  In case your students prefer mangas, this tutorial about manga studio should help. You need students who are manga experts to help with storyline.

3. Gimp expert with a lot to learn.

This alternative offers an insight into the making of digital comics and writing storylines. Using the background information you can learn first about media genres, analysis of comics and view examples. Free source Gimp and Gimp shop can be also used to create comics. For a good introduction visit  blip where you can not only find  tutorials and podcastson comic making, but also video games, comedy, drama and a lot of inspiration on comic making by watching videos. The best of all is that you can find analysis of media genres, characters and stories as well. Your students can learn a lot about their favorite comics. They can profit from the background information and later build up stories and characters for their own comics. Having the interest of your students focused on character analysis of anime for example, you could give them a short introduction to literature and let your students analyze other characters. Blip also offers examples of how science can be learned through comic videos or cartoons. It is an inspiration for science teachers who could make their students tell the story of atoms or cells as a comic video by using the content of a famous film, they could write sub titles in English too to make their video more professional. A cooperation among Art teachers, Science teachers and English teachers would make a comic video worth uploading on YouTube! You can use BLIP TV a complete term.

 
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 One of my experiments using games in school was to play Samorost 2 and review for the final exam. 

The group consisted of 18  students between 18 and 57 years old with level B1 in English as a foreign language. We used the computer room at school. For the 120 minute lesson we needed The game amanita-design.net , online dictionary www.leo.org and verb wheel 4foot30.com      

First I introduced the game, the dictionary and the verb wheel  and made teams. Then I handed out papers with questions on the game. The questions had to be answered as students played along. Read how it went.

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