Friday, August 26, 2011

Technology Treat: Pixton Comic Maker

As an outreach librarian, part of my job is finding ways to simplify and stimulate the work of area teachers and parents.  In that vein, next month I will be visiting an Open House at one of the local high schools.  While my first instinct was to bring a ton of programming flyers and bookmarks for the students, I began to realize that it is just as important for me to nurture the relationships between myself and the teachers.

So today, I tried out Pixton.  Pixton is a web-based comic-strip maker.   You decide how many panels you want in your strip, drag the characters into the poses you want, change the expressions, and add dialogue. It was VERY easy and free to use, though there is a paid professional version and an educator version as well.

 I highly recommend it for ages 9 and up.

I've taught before, so I understand completely how difficult it is to keep learning exciting, while also hitting benchmarks and professional goals.  There are times when book reports and even power point presentations just don't get it.  As we head farther into this techno-heavy era, it would just be ridiculous not to explore the many resources found all over.  BUT, it is also hard finding the time to sift through it all, though I've decided to try.  I'll be sharing my finds here, and with the teachers at the Open House.

Educational Uses:
Bloom's Taxonomy

  • English and Creative Writing - Comics and Graphics are always good when you want to direct student focus on main idea because there simply isn't enough space for  unnecessary dialogue.  It allows them to use dialogue more effectively because every frame has to move the story forward. Digital Storytelling is an awesome Creative Writing approach.
  • Higher Level of Bloom's - Using a graphic approach to showcase what they have learned, calls for students to synthesize, evaluate, and create. This gets your kids all the way up that top level of Bloom's Taxonomy.
  • Educational Version - Pixton for Schools is equipped with assessment rubrics, sound and voice capability, and teacher moderation.  You can get an entire year for up to 50 students, for about $2.60/student.
Library Uses:
  • User Instruction & Marketing - Asking questions can sometimes be like kryptonite for library patrons. They'd rather chew off their right foot before coming up and asking the librarians ANYTHING.  So we try and have pamphlets and signage that explains all those nagging little FAQ's.  Yet, I'm a librarian myself and I rarely feel up to actually reading some of the flyers I see around here.  Yet, this very morning when I was waiting on the elevator (I'm lazy), I took a second to peek at the library events easel upstairs in Adult Services.  Most of the papers were text-heavy and I glossed over them.  The one that stood out, however, was the flyer for the Graphic Novel Book Club, which was done in comic form.  I'm taking a cue from them.
  • Programming Idea! - This October we will be relaunching our teen writing group.  One of the members is very interested in turning some of his writing into a graphic novel.  A tool like this could be amazeballs for someone like that.  It could also be great to introduce in our Manga book club, or as a general computer class activity.
I'm sure I could think of some more uses for it, but for now, I'm a little tired. So, without further adieu, my first Pixton Comic!  


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