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Edtechcc Assignment 3: Comic Strip February 5, 2012

Posted by IaninSheffield in edtechcc, Resources, Tools.
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cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by sparetomato: http://flickr.com/photos/sparetomato/3223220181/

You know how sometimes you set off down a road and you’re not quite sure it’s the right route? I’m sure there’ll be a mathematical formula for balancing how far you travel, thinking there might be an off-shoot that’ll set you back on to the right track, weighed against the further you go, the further you’re going to have to back-track when it all goes pear-shaped. It’s occasionally happened to me whilst out cycling or running and it certainly tripped me up on this assignment. Kept pressing on regardless until I eventually realised I wasn’t even in the same postal district as where I wanted to be.

Anyway the starting point for our assignment was:

Make a comic-strip style set of instructions for a practical task. The task you choose is entirely up to you. It could be something that relates to your subject area, or alternatively you can do something more generic like starting up and shutting down a computer, how to set an alarm clock, or how to use the office photocopier.

My stimulus came from an issue we’ve been trying to resolve at work where colleagues have been struggling with classroom projectors not displaying the output from their laptops. Since we changed staff laptops (and the docking stations went) this has been quite a problem for some. The time was due to re-issue a reminder of the most efficacious way to connect a laptop; unfortunately the assignment came just too late, but it got me wondering how I might have provided the instructions if it had been in comic format … and how that might have been received by colleagues. My planning in one sense had already been done since I’d laid out the content whilst producing the instructions I issued a short while ago. Mistake 1! This is a different medium and demands a different approach. OK, I may have had a notion of the information I needed to convey, but ended up bending it into the comic medium. Was that the right thing to do?

I opted to use ToonDo rather than Chogger, simply because I already had an account, had used it before and thought I could get up and running a little more quickly. Mistake 2! It was so long since I’d last used it, there was definitely a lag whilst I got back up to speed. The real time-sucker though, was finding the image which best conveyed the message I was trying to deliver, whether from searching the Internet or browsing the extensive gallery in ToonDo. Eventually I got there, but soon hit mistake 3: I didn’t have enough panels and quickly discovered that ToonDo only provides a maximum of four … it is after all a cartoon creator rather than a comic one. As always, “Fail to prepare and be prepared to fail!” Anyway here’s my effort:

By IaninSheffield | View this Toon at ToonDoo | Create your own Toon

Maybe there’s a plus-side to only having four panels though. It does tend to focus your mind more, in the way that condensing a message into 140 characters often requires you to think carefully about what you want, or rather *need* to say. Or, OK so I went down the wrong path, but hey, the view from over here’s not too bad after all.

What have I learned:

  • More!! Making mistakes meant I learned an awful lot more than if things had gone more smoothly.
  • I went for the easy option of a familiar tool, but missed an opportunity to learn a new one.
  • If you’re heading down what might be the wrong track, back up quickly and take a look down the other possible routes. A few moments spent here may just save you time in the long run.
  • If I was going to be using ToonDo with students, I’d want to think carefully how I introduced them to it, building in time for experimentation so they can explore all the features at their convenience. It would be so easy to waste away a lesson changing characters, poses, backgrounds, objects and the like, whilst the real focus should be on the learning activity. Maybe set them a homework ‘taster’ activity so they can come prepared to the lesson, knowing what features they’re going to need to use.


Images used in the Toon:

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by Phil Hawksworth: http://flickr.com/photos/philhawksworth/5114743884/

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo by CraigTaylor1974: http://flickr.com/photos/49333396@N06/4796073717/



1. Reflections wk3 (?) « 19hrsandcounting - February 8, 2012

[…] 2 hours on something for it to crash. I have had a wee look at Pixton (Thanks Nicola) and ToonDo (Thanks Ian) which both look like better applications, and I intend to use one of these to set my level 5 […]

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