Tag Archive for 'comics'

Comics in the Classroom – Online Tools

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:


John Larkin provides examples of the use of comic creation tools in a classroom setting across the curriculum at:

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:
Andrew Churches has created a Video Comic Life beginner’s guide
Part 1 – Step by step guide to getting started:
Part 2 – Step by step guide to modifying  titles and captions, and saving options:
This link below provides a video Step by step guide to modifying speech bubbles and lettering in Comic Life:

Free Online Comic Creation Tools

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.

http://city.lego.com/en-us/ComicBuilder/mycomics.aspx Using Lego characters you can create comics, choosing from a bank of backgrounds, characters and images, adding your own text in speech bubbles, and contriolling the size, position and angle of everything.
ArtisanCam Super Action Hero Comic Creator – lets you choose from a choice of super action hero characters, position them, add speech bubbles and choose their action position.

Cartoon Maker and Superhero Cartoon Maker from Cambridge English lets you create cartoons with your own choice of characters, in a choice of template styles.

British Council Comic Creator for kids>

You may find the following links also helpful:
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.

Image Manipulation Tools

There are many image manipulation tools available for teachers, or their pupils, to use.  Many of these for free. Some require software to be downloaded and many are able to be used online. Schools use images in so many ways – both in print form and for use on websites, blogs, or elsewhere.

Here are some of the free online tools which, depending on the task, might be found to be useful.  As with all online tools if thinking of using with pupils a teacher should check out these tools to ensure their suitability.  Some tools have online galleries of created work and so caution would always be required:


– create your own images from scratch (painting, drawing or using shapes) or use the effects filters with existing photographs – site includes tutorial video.  Also has neat variable symmetrical lines to use when creating images.

FotoFlexer.com image editor

PhotoVisi.com – make collages online from your photographs

AnyMakingapply a series of effects to your photographs or use one of the editing tools, all online.

www.dumpr.netupload a photograph or use from an online source and then apply many effects.

Photoshop Express Editor is an image editor with a comprehensive suite of tools and effects. Just upload your image and get started. there are tutorials on the site too.
www.ImageChef.com Embed your text in an image of your choice with imagechef.com

– choose from a bank of images and add your own text to make it look like it is part of the original image

Word Mosaic created using http://www.imagechef.com/ic/word_mosaic/

Make a Gif – upload a few of your own pictures to create an animated image

GifMagic is a site which lets you upload an existing animated gif (or add a link from one already online) and then edit it or apply various effects/add text.

FotoTricks – Upload photo and add comic bubble and many effects

Pizap http://www.pizap.com/ Add fun effects to your photographs

ROFLBOT is for adding text to a picture – do it all in your browser

PicMonkey has a whole host of tools for editing images, all online, for free. You can also apply a wide range of effects and borders.

Create and embed Flickr slideshows in blog, website or Glow page in 3 steps

Online Image Generators for creating website/blog buttons, backgrounds, images, etc.

Pixisnap – create mosaics or collages images from your pictures

http://aviary.com/tools/image-editor – Phoenix image editor from Aviary suite of tools – includes extensive video tutorials

http://www.pixlr.com/ Pixlr has two different online versions, Express (which quickly lets you resize an uploaded image, crop it, and apply any number of effects – including kaleidoscope illustrated here), and Pixlr Editor which is fully featured including multi-layers (so you can edit each layer independently).

http://www.blockposters.com/default.aspx – upload your photograph and enter how big you wish to print your image, and blockposter will divide the poster up into segments to print out one segment at a time and join together – any size – great for classroom walls.

www.lunapic.com can be used to create animated slideshows with a variety of transitions from your own images, or animations sich as rolling dice or rippling water.  And it has an image editor to let you vary animations and edit images further.

www.juxio.com/beta/index.php Juxio – upload your photographs, choose a template, then create a poster of your images

http://www.funphotobox.com/ Fun Photbox lets you add many effects to your photographs as well as create an animated gif image for uploading onto webpage or blog.

http://www.festisite.com/text-layout/ Festisite – create images from text – rebus, spiral, heart, maze and more.
http://www.myspacegens.com/handler.php?gen=animatedimage – Animated Gif Maker from MySpaceGens lets users upload up to 50 photographs, control the speed, the length of time  individual images are displayed, the overal size.  User caution is advised for classroom use as there is pop-up advertising in creating the animated gif, but there is no advertsiing on the finished animation.

http://www.getloupe.com/ Loupe is a free online tool which lets you create a collage of several images in a shape chosen from templates. The images can either be selected from your PC or can be from a website, an online storage space or from images which appear when you enter a search term in the serach box. When the images chosen appear on the list you can then de-select those not required. Collage images created can then be downloaded.

PhotoFunia – has a wealth of choices for manipulating your images. You can choose from a range of imaginative backgrounds into which your image will be automatically inserted (e.g. as part of a painting, wall display, book cover, television screen, shop front and many, many more). Many of these are animated. In addition there is a wide range of filters to apply to each image from jigsaw, broken glass, sepia and many more. There is also an animated gif created where you can upload a series of images to make an animated image. This site also has apps for mobile phones with seveal of these features.


Canva Photo Editor – a free online photo-editor where you simply upload your photograph and can then crop, resize, adjust colour, brightness, rotate or flip the picture or apply a series of filter effects. And then simply download the image.

Here are some of the programs installed on all PCs in all Falkirk primary schools:

Free downloads:

• Picassa 3 – free from http://picasa.google.com
• Microsoft Windows 7 Paint – included with Windows 7 operating system
• Microsoft Windows 7 Snipping Tool – included with Windows 7 operating system

Commercial products:

Microsoft Office Picture Manager – included as part of Microsoft Office – useful to resize an image or to crop an image.
RM Colour Magic http://www.rm.com/shops/rmshop/product.aspx?cref=PD1105
ComicLife  – www.complasq.com


http://blabberize.com/ can be used to create a speaking image in Monty Python-esque animation style.  Pupils can choose an image of an animal’s head of their choice (from website with permission to use and royalty-free) .  They then use a microphone to add their voice with their their own message to the picture.

Click on the video below for a step-by-step guide to using Blabberize to create an animated “Blabber”


ChatterPix Kids is a post by Richard Byrne which describes how an app for a mobile tablet device can produce images to which learners can add their voice, and with the image mouth moving in tandem with the spoken word.

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