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Resource Number 19

URL www.toondoo.com Keywords digital comic, writing, creative, language

Toondoo
Category VII Writing skills training Rationale

Enhancing writing and creative literacy skills are an important support to many aspects of learning. Digital comics offer a way to experiment and utilize these skills in a way that removes constraints caused by psychological barriers to production in L2 learners and minimize stress connected to productive skills as this instrument allows them to express contents confidently through the comic characters. A digital comic utilizes the included clipart and images to support a learner's story and allows a professional result that a learner can feel proud of displaying, even if his writing skills are minimal. This is particularly true with language learners. The tool helps maximise the use of simple language for lower-levelled students, but as well to use a variety of language registers for the higher-levelled ones. Its enjoyable format also helps enhance student’s motivation to learn languages by using an active learning tool. The possibility to quickly produce results and edit results is a second advantage. Description Toondoo is based on a Flash download in the browser. The website also includes other tools that can be used with the comic generation tool, these include make a Toonbook, make a Character, digitally edit a user imported image, add user generated image. There is also a large repository of user created cartoons and other users can comment on created cartoons. Completed cartoons can also be embedded on other websites. The tool is available on the website and has many features and tools. You can:  Use a very large set of characters, backgrounds, clip art, props etc  Select tools to create user generated images  Import and edit/adapt user images  Add character expressions based on template or user imported image  Email  Edit, save, save as, publish The images placed in each panel can be:  Moved/ Rotated  Scaled  Brought to the front/back  Flipped  Clone/swop a panel  Deleted Results can be:  Printed  Shared (published)  Emailed. 

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The project Autonomous “Personal Learning Networks” for Language Teachers has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Resources required No special equipment is necessary. Obligatory resources  Internet browser and connection  Flash plug-in in the browser Optional resources  Printer if required

Cost Free (shop available for upgrading) Setup and Configuration Requires registration and login. The application is a Flash-based browser tool. After entering the website, you need to register – to select a Username and Password and type in also your email address in case you forget the password. Styling A complex interface with many included resources and the possibility for user generated images, text, ebooks etc.  In the section TOONS, you can choose between composing your own comics called toons, see the most popular, viewed, recent, argued toons etc. for inspiration. When you enter Create toon, you can start creating your own comic quite easily.  In the section BOOKS, can be seen again the most popular, recent, argued. If selected Create book you can start your own comic book.  In both cases, icons symbolizing basic functions of the programme – adding a character, resizing it, adding objects – can be easily spotted and used for effectuating the requested action. Navigation and operation Navigation can, initially, be a little confusing as the website has many tools available and the cartoon maker is not prominently displayed. Once registration is complete and the user has logged in and opened the application, the use is simple.

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The project Autonomous “Personal Learning Networks” for Language Teachers has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Implementation methodology Lessons based on exploitation of the digital comic format can be done directly in the lesson, in the language classroom equipped with computers or equally, completed as homework. Students can work either individually or in groups to come up with a solution. Teaching/Learning ideas:  Have students place value or reflect on a particular experience in a comic strip.  Use comics to talk about holidays, school, work, etc.  Illustrate a language problem.  Have a character to go through a vocabulary SS were taught in the lesson.  Have a character to explain a grammar point.  Create a comic book using the strips created by students. Students may serialize their comics by creating a new. strip each day as part of a continuing story.  Encourage students to use comic’s characters to comment on local or national events, cultural life, social trends.  Create a comic in which the characters deal with a topic or problem given which might be personal or wider social. The results can be printed or emailed, and/or placed in the classroom. Another possibility is to select the best comic between all the students and place them on the school websites or school magazine. Example of implementation Type of lesson: General English course Level: B1 of CEFR Lesson Title: Using digital strips for creative form of viewing the Endangered Animals topic Age group: Children (aged 10 -14) Number of students involved: 15 Duration: 90 min.   

Introduction: T presents the goal of today lesson – to use the comic format for creative work on the topic of endangered species. Lead in: T starts a discussion with SS about the topic of endangered animals. Together they bring the information. Modelling: T presents to SS the new resource showing it on a projector screen connected to a PC with Internet access. As an example, T shows SS how to create a comic and produces a sample on using the widest range of options for designing the comic to give them a clear idea of how to work with the comic strip creator. Preparation: T asks SS to come up with a list of scenes, a script, and a storyboard and define 4 panels as a basis for the comic. Lesson flow: Guide students' research by starting them off with the following questions to answer: What sort of animals belong to endangered species? What problems have to face exotic animals nowadays? What are the reasons? What can be done about it? SS following T’s instructions build a comic based on the questions given. They can choose characters, settings, and complete speech bubbles. After this, they send their final products to T’s email address. Output: T gets to his email account SS’s comics. These are printed and ordered according to the chapter sequence. SS go through them and a small competition may be held in order to choose the most appealing one. SS can design an informative chart and display there their works to share information about this topic with the rest of class. Follow up: The best comic can be embedded to Blog, e.g. Wordpress or EduBlogs.

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The project Autonomous “Personal Learning Networks” for Language Teachers has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Other issues Building digital comics in which the characters speak for the creator also provides a mechanism to help autistic and deaf students to communicate.

Useful tips    . A European project EduComics created resources and case studies in using digital comics in education. Teachers' forum Teaching Degree. Article “Comics in the Classroom: 100 Tips, Tools, and Resources for Teachers”. Includes numerous links to get more information about the comics in the classroom Find a list of tools here.

This Factsheet is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 2.0 License. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/

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The project Autonomous “Personal Learning Networks” for Language Teachers has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.