Fancy something a little different?
Why are we presenting? Are we sharing information? Highlighting facts? Explaining concepts? Often what we’re trying to do is tell a story. All of these things can be done in a variety of ways, but how about taking a challenge now and thinking about ways you could use graphic presentation media, i.e. cartoons and animation? There are many free tools for creating cartoons and animations out there on the Web.
Here’s a cartoon I made to introduce the idea of using cartoons and animations in the DigiThings course. Whilst utilising static images cartoons are often a very dynamic way of story telling. The annotations, character choices, expressions, progression from one frame to the next that are chosen by the compiler of the cartoon can be used creatively to tell a story in a dynamic and engaging way. There are many online tools to choose from with which to create cartoon strips like this one.
One such tool for creating cartoon strips is Toonlet, http://toonlet.com/.
It’s very easy to use, can be used to quickly create dialogue based cartoon stories. There are a lot of junk cartoons created on the site, but a search facility helps drag out some useful examples of how people have used it. This example, Sun Safety, presents a very simple dialogue on the use of sunscreen, making a very serious point in an engaging short graphic story. Now what about a bit of chemistry? Remember all that stuff about chemical bonding? No? Let a Toonlet strip do the reminding for you, Chemistry Rocks!, possibly not the deepest chemistry reference in existence but does it’s quirkiness lend something as a revision tool that isn’t found in a flat, dull book page? Possibly, and if it breaks up the routine of PowerPoint and text books a bit then I feel it’s worth having a go at.
Cartoon strips are quick and easy to make. However, you may need to a little more action in your presentation in which case an animation tool might be more suited to your needs. There are many web-based animation tools out there of varying quality. I have made the following example animation with a tool called GoAnimate, http://goanimate.com/, which is quite an easy tool to use with a fair selection of pre-made characters and settings.
Both the cartoon maker and animation tools are fairly easy to learn to use and in a short time you can create quite sophisticated results. So now it’s over to you.
Small Task: identify an area in your own teaching or learning experiences where either of these presentation methods might be appropriate. This might be something in your own teaching practice, or something you had to learn in the past that you think could be taught in a more interesting way by using one of these tools. Use one of the tools suggested, or one of your own choice, to create a cartoon strip or animation for the thing you have identified. This might be a bigger project than you have time for in the week, but make a start this week if you can.
Having looked at these tools and spent some time starting a project in one of them here are some things to think about in your blog this week:
Have you encountered cartoons or animations in your learning experiences? Would you use them in your teaching? Do they fit in ‘personally’ with the way you explore a subject? Can you think of any particular projects you could use these tools in?
I look forward to reading your posts in the next few days.