Having Fun and Making Fun of Connected Educators Month

This will be no surprise to those who read me here, but I was making some webcomics as part of my thinking around Connected Educator Month. The third one dipped into my cynical side as I was scrolling through some of the “Partners” with the federal folks on CE13, and mulling over the times of so many events. (And I got some pushback from the CE folks on Twitter when I shared that one, too, as they explained the difficulties of logistics for scheduling events. They noted that many teachers watch recordings of presentations later. I countered that strong connections come from participating in live events, in the moment, not from watching a recorded webinar where you are a passive viewer. But I do understand the difficulty that they face in scheduling on such a large scale.) I am actually partial to the second comic, with the fish, for some reason. Maybe it is because I am part of a School …

CE13 Comic1

CE13 Comic2

CE13 Comic3

CE13 Comic4

CE13 Comic5
 

Peace (in the frame),
Kevin

 

A Few Dreams to Inspire Them …

My students are working on their Dream Scene projects (done in a webcomic space) and I am enjoying getting to know them a little better through their aspirations (Note: I am sharing two versions here — the flash version and then the image version.)

Peace (in the dreams),
Kevin

 

Webcomic: Dream Scene Mentor Text

My students are working on a start-of-the-year project known as a Dream Scene. They are envisioning some point in the future and thinking about a goal that they have to get there. In the past few years, we have created digital stories for dream scenes, but some technical issues (mostly, moving from PC to Mac and me not being ready for this project) have us instead working in our Bitstrips for Schools webcomic space.

My Dream Scene Webcomic 2013
Or as a flash file:

I shared out my own Dream Scene with them yesterday as they began their rough draft work. Today, they will head into the site and use an activity template to create their own. I love this project because it gives me a chance to know more about who they are as a person and where they see themselves going. Some of them really spend a lot of time mulling this one over!

Peace (in the frames),
Kevin

 

Starting the School Year: We’re All Comics Now

Class of 2014
This is one of my opening day traditions with my homeroom class and it is a lot of fun. I have my students on the first day of school get up into our Bitstrips for Schools webcomic site to create avatars of themselves (first, we have a discussion about avatars and identity — a topic we will return to later on). Not only do I get this great webcomic version of my classroom, but I get to move around the room, talk one-on-one with students, watch who is a collaborator and who might need a little help, and who are my technology assistants.

I also have them work on the first activity in our Bitstrips, which is creating a “pro card” of themselves. This is an easy entry into making comics, since it is a template activity. I purposely did not give them specific instructions. I wanted to see what they would do with it. Most just used the template. But a few others (my future hackers?) began to modify the template a bit, making changes to the font and where their character was on the card, and more.

Here are a few:


Peace (in the comic world),
Kevin

Graphic Novel Review: Adventures in Cartooning – Characters in Action

I really love this book as much as the concept behind it. And I have loved the other books put out in this series from the Center for Cartoon Studies (and published by First Second Publishing). In this newest edition of Adventures in Cartooning, readers not only get a funny story about a knight looking for a king whose kingdom has been taken over by a movie producer, they also get an embedded lesson around developing strong characters (and how to draw them for comics).

The knight on his horse is a recurring character in the series, which includes the first one — How To Turn Your Doodles into Comics — that really does a fine job of looking at the art of making comics. An activity book that came out later allows kids to work right in the book itself. My son loved it.

Characters in Action is a sly bit of teaching, and perfectly aimed at the elementary level of students. By the end of the story (which has a quick pace), you realize that with a few strokes of a pen or a few good descriptor words, you can make characters old or young, brave or fearful, smart or not-so-smart, and more. For young writers who struggle to create original characters, Characters in Action might be another fun resource to put into their hands.

Peace (in the action),
Kevin

Webcomic: Waiting on the Download

The download for XCode took quite some time for me (DSL, wireless, etc.) And at one point, the download got gummed up, so I had to restart my computer and restart the download again. (This time, I used an Ethernet cord, which was much faster). I need the XCode software to keep working on my App Development Adventure project. So, I created this comic ..

The Tweets App Development2

Peace (in the wait),
Kevin

 

The Tweets Take on the MOOC

 

Some time back, I created a series of webcomics about two dudes I called The Tweets. It was inspired by a news story about young people trying to make a living by selling themselves, and their Twitter personas, to companies and politicians for Twitter campaigns. I resurrected the guys as we begin to wind down the official cycles of the Making Learning Connected MOOC. You can view the comic as embedded here or go directly to the comic at Stripgenerator, the site where I made the comic. And heck, while you are there, make your own ….

Peace (in the comic),
Kevin

Reflections via Comics: What They Are Learning

We are midway through our digital literacies workshop with high school students (as part of a larger initiative to target English Language Learners with academic support and enrichment and jobs over the summer) so we had them go into our Webcomic site to write about a few things they have learned so far this summer with us.

We like that students are referencing a range of learning, from creating games to using the Webmaker tools to our vocabulary activities around digital literacy terms.

Halfway Reflection1

Halfway Reflection2

Halfway Reflection3

Peace (in the sharing),
Kevin

 

Making Avatars in a Webcomic Classroom

Holyoke WorkshopComicClassroom
In the summer workshop for high school English Language Learners, we’ve been talking a lot about digital literacy and online identity, particularly about avatars. This concept of representing oneself will come back around as we move into video game design, too, and yesterday, after viewing a fascinating New York Times slideshow that features portraits of people and their avatars, I brought our students up into Bitstrips for Schools.

One of the first tasks in Bitstrips is to create an avatar for use in the site, so it ties in perfectly to what we had been discussing. And the webcomic space is very user-friendly, even for struggling writers. Today, I will give them an overview around how to create a comic in Bitstrips. But as they were working on their avatars, I kept refreshing the homepage of the site, showing how their representations of themselves were populating the “classroom.” They got a kick of that, shouting out to refresh the page.

Take a look at the class picture and you get a sense of the students I am working with this summer. (A few students were absent or are still working, which is why there are some blank spaces).

Peace (in the comic),
Kevin