There are many teachers who now use comic creation software or online tools in the classroom to inspire Literacy across the curriculum, or to empower pupils to create visual narratives, pictorial reports, how-to guides and more in a visually engaging way. They report that this process helps engage disaffected pupils to provide an immediacy of dialogue by developing visual literacy through the graphic novels style.
Charles Thacker provides a good rationale of why to use comics in the classroom here:
Comics in the Classroom: 100 Tips, Tools and Resources for Teachers is a superb resource collated by Kelsey Allen. This is grouped into various categories and each resource has helpful descriptive notes. There are sections on understanding how comics are beneficial in schools and ways they can be used; sources of information, tools, community, and more to help you use comics in your classroom; lists of comics which are both high-quality and age-appropriate; tools to help you get creative; examples of the use of comics by other educators; and lesson plans grouped by age-group.
HowToons is a great site partly to show examples of the comic style used in an instructional way but also to provide contexts of real guided texts. These are aimed at children. The stated aim of HowToons is to provide engaging content that teaches kids how to build things, combining instructions with storytelling in a graphic comic style. Howtoons has a foundation of science and engineering education, inspiring creativity through art and imagination.
Comic Life – commercial software
Falkirk Council purchased the commercial software Comic Life Deluxe for all Falkirk Council educational establishments.
Dianne Krause has created a Video Introduction to Comic Life and overview of features:
There are a number of free online tools which can be used to create comic strips in the classroom or at home
As these make use of shared online resources teachers should familiarise themselves with the tools to satisfy themselves of the suitability of the resource for their pupils. Pupil supervision is required since there is sometimes content you may consider unsuitable uploaded by users. Some of these tools may also be blocked by internet filters within schools.
http://bitstrips.com/create/comic/ – choose from a range of characters, backgrounds, furniture, objects, and add your own text bubbles. You can create a variety of comic layout formats, resize and change positions of everything.
www.toondoo.com – create characters, create stories, even whole books of cartoons.
http://chogger.com/ Chogger – education version available. You can upload your own photographs, and edit within the tool.
ComicMaster is a free online graphic-novel creation tool, supported by Words for Life, encouraging reading at all ages. You can choose from a range of comic styles, backgrounds, characters and speech symbols to create writing in graphic novel style.
Cartoon Studies How To Guide is a free downloadable guide to creating cartoon comics, including tips on drawing techniques as well as techniques for creating various effects and for creating stories which engage the reader.
Beano for Schools – free downloadable lesson plans – literacy activities for the classroom using comic style