Sunday, January 27, 2013

Unlock the Educational Power of Comics Using Bitstrips

Comics have a way of piquing the interest of even the most disengaged student.  In fact, I have had younger siblings of former students request to create a comic of their own!  In most cases, these siblings are referring to Bitstrips for Schools, a Canadian-based comic engine that users can access on-line for free.  The reason most cited by students for using Bitstrips for Schools is its fun, engaging, and user-friendly environment.  In fact, the Bitstrips for Schools template format allows users to create and customize characters, backgrounds, drawings, and so much more.  View the sample comic below to give you a better idea as to the functionality of Bitstrips for Schools.  



The Bitstrips for Schools feature not evident in the example above is the private virtual classrooms students are able to work in.  Educators will definitely value the safe and secure on-line environment Bitstrips architects have created mainly because teachers control all student permission settings.  Another very useful feature teachers will appreciate is the dashboard homepage which immediately shows the latest student activity.  By including these two features, teachers can monitor student progress in a few mouse clicks.    


A New De-tech-tive 4 Teachers Feature Segment!                                                     Teach-nology

Incorporating technology into classroom activities is a great way for students to learn 21st Century skills.  However, with any form of teaching, it should be based on sound educational practice.  Teach-nology is just that - the pedagogical rationale for the use of technology.  The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers goal for the 'Teach-nology' segment is to not describe every learning outcome, but to outline the key 21st Century skill(s) students will be exposed to by using a specific technology.

Skill

Teach-nology

Communication
- Use written communication to inform, instruct, motivate and persuade.
- To extend & confirm meaning of a visual text.


Creativity
- Write effective imaginative texts to explore ideas & information.
- Experiment with various writing styles & syntax.


Organization
- Utilize a variety of strategies to generate, develop, and organize ideas such as considering one's audience, gathering & summarizing ideas, etc.



Sample Activities:

Another valuable Bitstrips for Schools feature is its 'Activities' section.  In it, educators will find a wide selection of prepared activities organized by subject and topic.  Below is a sampling of some of the great lesson ideas offered:  

1.  My Report Card - Students create a comic to reflect on their academic progress in a subject area.  Analysis should include what they have done well and what they should improve upon.

2.  Two Sides to Every Story - To demonstrate their working knowledge of point of view, students create a comic describing a situation about how two or more people can interpret the same circumstances differently.  

3.  People We Depend On! - Students create a comic strip describing what may happen if the people they depend on were not so dependable.

4.  Une Activite Dehours! - Using proper French language writing skills, students create a comic describing their favorite outdoor activities.

5.  Your Province - To demonstrate their knowledge about a particular Canadian province, students create a comic interviewing the province's premier. 


How to Get Started:

Bitstrips for Schools has developed a very detailed support page for its users.  You can access it using the hyperlink below: 

Bitstrips for Schools Support Page

Bitstrips for Schools is an excellent web-based educational tool students will love to use as it allows users to express themselves in a fun and engaging way.  If you are interested in 'unlocking the educational power of comics', click here to get started right away!


This post originally appeared on The De-tech-tive 4 Teachers.

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