Engage Learning and Creativity with Digital Comics: StoryboardThat

IMG_7336This is an amazing web based resource which is highly entertaining and engaging for both teachers and students. It’s impressive, incredibly easy to use, quick to learn and very easy to share. As a computer teacher who teaches film, storyboarding is an easy fit, but it has an incredible application to ANY subject, and at any grade level for that matter! I taught students the app by having them first do an internet safety storyboard with me, then they got to create a storyboard of something that they have learned in another class and then they emailed the Storyboard to their subject matter teacher.

Sign Up Details: When you sign up for StoryboardThat, they offer a free 14 day trial for their full educational version. This allows you to manage classrooms and students. There are a lot of great benefits,including keeping students work private, allowing students to comment on each others’ work, viewing students work and making storyboards larger than the standard 3 x 1 or 3 x 2.  But you do not have to buy to have students use the program on their own.

I taught this originally to two 8th grade classes who learn storyboard in film. It was such a loved program, that I decided to teach it to my 7th grade classes, and I am currently teaching it to my 6th grade classes as we are learning internet safety. Soon the 6th graders will create messages against cyber bullying with the program.

Student Session

Student Created Flyer for morning tutorial

The program was such a hit and my students enjoyed it so much that a group of 8th graders who are in a special Tech Squad club to help peers and staff with technology taught a 40 minute before school tutorial open to all interested students at our school. This was the first student session they ran this year, and after the session a few students asked, when is the next session? (What a success!)

It has also been an absolute hit with teachers as well. After having students send their projects to their teachers, many teachers have printed out the comics, and are working out a way to work this into their curriculum as an aide to teaching. Some teachers have asked me to teach them how to use it, though many have asked the greatest experts (their students)!

Below is my daily lesson on teaching the app to students and a basic outline of what we did in 5 days. You can definitely shorten the process to a streamlined 3 days of computer lab time.  This could be taught to any grade k-12 with some modifications.

The class I taught this to was to an 8th grade class of 13 and 14 year olds. We start each day with 6-8 minutes of typing practice which leaves about a 45 minute class period each day.

Day 1: We made student accounts fairly quickly, and students learned how to manipulate the program with me, as we created the following internet safety message together. This includes, characters, scenes, edits, crops. There are thousands of pictures in the program, and what’s more if and when the project is printed, it prints with it an attribution page of the images. Wow!

internet safety comic

Day 2: Students made an ending of their own in 3 slides to teach about internet safety. Then they learned how to save the file as a PDF to submit as an assignment. (To do this, go to print and then instead of printing it, click on the word PDF, and choose save PDF to desktop.) I also taught them how easy it is to make StoryboardThat into a PowerPoint presentation, though this was for informational purposes only. I wanted student to know that they could use this program in their other classes. I showed students how they can upload their own photos if they wish, (Though I do teach them that all pictures must be in the public domain, creative commons with appropriate attribution, or be taken or drawn themselves.)

Day 3: Students folded a blank piece of paper so that it had 6 segments. They drew in a draft of something that they learned about in another class Student showcases rough draftto storyboard. They could choose a current subject or something that another teacher they have had at our school taught them in 6th or 7th Grade. They finished the assignment for homework, coming to school with their draft the next day to Storyboard.

***I do not normally assign homework.  if students did not complete their homework, the next day in class they worked on the draft instead of got on the program. Most students that were behind, then worked on Storyboardthat outside of class to get caught up.***

Day 4 & 5: Students created their project on StoryboardThat and sent an email to their teacher giving the project to them, and CCed the assignment to myself for credit. (*Bonus of a few new skills taught: students got to practice attaching a file to an email as well as learned what CC is for when sending an email). Many of their teachers sent them messages back. All their teachers sent a note to me, or told me personally that they were so impressed with the projects that they received.Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 12.09.29 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 12.39.04 AM

Student project (showcasing 4 slides out of 8)

Categories: Apps

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