Wrapping up the course

The semester went by so quickly. I was concerned throughout the course, because I used such a different approach to the course objectives. With a few technical hiccups aside, we made it through, and from my perspective, it was a positive and rich experience! I learned a lot about the learners, their challenges and their successes with technology. We explored at least a dozen different angles to educational technology in instruction and training-not all of them match everyone’s practice, but I think everyone came away with some ideas. I want to thank my learners; on the first day, when I explained the flipped format of the course, I saw quite a few faces with unsure expressions, and I questioned internally if this was the best format for the class. At the closing session, watching all the hard work that went into the projects, I can see that it worked, and inspired good things.

One of the topics we covered was eBooks and eTextbooks, and during that section, I suggested we make an eBook of selected blog posts from throughout the semester. This post will serve as the Introduction. Posts were able to be nominated to be included in the eBook by everyone in the course.

Thank you, learners, I learned as much from you as you learned from me!

Web Comics Generators for Instructional Use

Five web-based comics generators were reviewed as potential platforms for instructional use, to support digital storytelling as a learning exercise or object. One platform, Chogger, didn’t make the cut because it only uses uploaded pictures or images found via Google search, or items/characters drawn by hand. It could be used by someone artistic enough to generate their own content, but in order to produce the same comic to evaluate the platforms, it was removed from the review.

1. Pixton – http://www.pixton.com

Pixton offered the easiest interface and range of characters and props. The characters can be customized with facial expressions and body poses. The site requires a login, and users can select from a site login, or to login with Facebook or Google credentials. Although downloading and printing are premium features that require payment, users can generate a link URL and an embed code with the free version.

2. ToonDoo – http://www.toondoo.com

ToonDoo has several tools for building customized backgrounds and characters. The interface is simple to use but doesn’t offer as many facial expressions or poses as Pixton. The website requires registration, comics created can be shared publicly or privately, and it supports embedding.

3.  MakeBeliefs – http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/Comix/

MakeBeliefs is the least customizable of all the programs, but it does support building comics without site registration. It doesn’t store comics, so users either have to print or email it to themselves in order to keep it.

4. BitStrips – http://www.bitstrips.com

BitStrips’ interface and customizability is on par with Pixton, however, the only way to save comics or share via links or embed codes is to register using Facebook credentials.