Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 24 - ToonDoo

Visiting the "About us" page for today's tool, I learned that, "ToonDoo was the happy result of a brainstorming session that was aimed at creating a new way of expression for those who do not have the talent to draw." Okay, that may be a bit harsh, but in reality there are those of us who benefit from having galleries of clipart at our disposal--especially when we've been asked to create a comic strip! With ToonDoo, the user just clicks and characters, scenary, even props can be dragged into frames and brought to life with written words.Yes, it's that easy!

ToonDoo offers two services when you go to sign up, and while one is promoted for educators, I suggest you select the FREE public individual user account. Once you have registered (there are fields requesting the standard username, password and email), you will arrive at a busy window as seen below.
 
There are two options for creating a ToonDoo, which are noted on the screencast. It doesn't really matter which route you go. "Create" will open a new browser window, while using the "Toons" drop-down menu and selecting "Create Toon" will keep you working in the same window.

You will need to select your template for the cartoon.  There are 15 options ranging from 1-4 frames in vertical or horizontal layouts. (I will note that if you intend to use comics in a book later that you will want to stick with the horizontal layout.) Depending on your selection, the next window may vary slightly, but essentially you are taken to your editing menu. Allow a minute or two for it to load this first time; subsequent visits won't take as long. The video below walks you through the basics and introduces you to the TraitR tool that allows you to create your own characters for the comic.



A bit of cautionary advise: depending on traffic and the complexity of your creation, it may take several minutes to process your ToonDoo when it comes time to save. As long as you complete all the steps, it's okay to close the browser. Once the processing is complete, you will get an email from the ToonDude letting you know that the new toon is in your library.  Toons can be shared in multiple ways. On a most basic level, you can download your creations as a png.

The ToonDoo site has a WordPress Blog with resources for teachers. You can access it here. There is also a wiki full of resources although you have to be selective. Another school district put together a comprehensive SlideShare of the editing tools which you can see here. Keep in mind that there are social aspects to ToonDoo as well. Commenting and sharing are possible and open a whole new realm of possible applications.

Using this tool you can also create books. The Book Maker allows you to combine the individual comics you have created into one strip. Below is a basic example. If you notice I used the ICATS logo in one comic. I uploaded that using the ImagineR tool. Check out the book, which is where you'll find today's assignment:


It is important to note that while the site claims to be for students of any age, their Privacy policy clearly states that it is not intended for users under 13 years old without "verified parental consent."  You may want to investigate similar free tools on your own: Pixton, Make Beliefs Comics, and Read Write Think's Comic Creator.

33 comments:

  1. I could see our teachers using ToonDoo to present the idea of Reader's Workshop vs. the Traditional Reading Block. They could create a ToonDoo and then use it at the beginning of the year and when we have new students come in mid-year, which is quite often. I think the idea of creating comics would have wide-spread appeal with our students, especially the upper-elementary kids. I could see ELA teachers using this when asking kids to create an alternate ending to a story. This would incorporate higher-level thinking while asking the kids to write, collaborate, and create.

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  2. I just made one with the introduction to a song. I could use this to introduce ideas or new vocabulary, start a lesson, or as a bell ringer. Also, could use the png of the image for a screen saver, or homepage of my website for the kids. Overall this is easy to use, and I like all the different choices of animation and characters.

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  3. I wish this tool had existed when I was younger. I always hated the assignments where we had to draw a comic, but only because I can't draw to save my life.

    I could see having students create a comic to summarize a novel or play they have read. To really challenge the high school students, they must summarize the work in only four panels. If they do this for each work we have read, then at the end of the year, they can put all the comics together into a book as a type of portfolio to showcase what we have done the whole year.

    I could also see using the comics to have students create their own version of how they picture certain inventions or discoveries coming about. I can picture very funny interpretations of Franklin outside during a storm with a kite. This assignment would show how creative our students can be and allow them to think outside the box.

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  4. I cannot draw a lick so this is a great tool for someone like me. My students even make fun of me when I attempt to draw the simplest of pictures to illustrate a math concept!

    This would be great to use to introduce a lesson. It is a nice alternative to a flipchart. I know my students would enjoy creating one but again, teaching elementary age students, these programs that require students to be at least 13 years of age eliminates a lot of good options.

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  5. Keep in mind that this tool can be used by younger students once you have secured parental consent.

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  6. As I prepare for a new group of students next semester, I can see using this to deliver my 1st day policies and class procedures. This is more engaging than the flipcharts I am currently using for this purpose.

    Students could use this tool to create a comic to illustrate the lyrics to a song, or to create a story to go with a song we are working on in class.

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  7. I like the idea of students using this site to create a study guide to share with other students that highlights concepts that will appear on the next test. It is also another way to introduce a lesson-a teacher-created comic to grab interest. It would be neat to have a whole unit introduced with comics that are connected like a soap-opera, with a plot that keeps kids coming back for more each day.

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  8. Next semester I teach a creative writing class and I see this as a perfect tool to work on concise writing.

    Comics are short with little text. The goal is economy of words.

    The assignment I envision is to have my students create a ToonDo with four blocks but less that 50 total words. With so few words, the challenge to to get your point across without relying on tons of words.

    And of course, it would be really fun to see how they put those few words to images.

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  9. Fun!! This would be a fun way to chronicle a lab - students would use themselves as the characters. This would also be a fun way to tell the history of something - like the atom. Or the story of how ionic/covalent bonding occurs.

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  10. ToonDoo is so cute! I want to make little comic books for my nephew. From the educational point, I could use ToonDoo for students to illustrate a story problem for math. It would need to be a multiple step story problem, but they could show and solve it through the frames of the comic. This would show understanding of the lesson, because they would need to explain each step of the problem as they solved it through the comic. I also think this is would be a great way for students to chronicle the school year. They could create it and add to it for important events or days in their lives. As obsessed as many of my students are with drawing and comics, this may be worth getting parental permission to use.

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  11. I am artistically challenged when it comes to drawing, so this is a wonderful tool to add to the arsenal. I have done activities where I have asked students to illustrate various portions of a story or rewrite it. This would be a great way to spice that activitiy up. Students could create a ToonDoo instead of drawing their illustrations.
    This would also be a fun and interactive way to introduce classroom policies, notes, and other informational things that some students find "boring" when they are presented using things like Activinspire and other presentaion tools.

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  13. As I was learning about this tool, I was thinking that it would be great to use with my problem solving lessons that I do. Often with problem solving, I draw pictures, and am horrible at it. So, with this tool, I can illustrate the mini unit that I do. It will make it more fun. To check for their understanding, I can have them create their own problem solving toon and show it to the class.

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  14. At what point does my head stop spinning from the possibilities of these new tools. How do we manage to find time for all the fun stuff now?

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  15. I use something similar to this called BitStrips, but its blocked on the kids' computers so its exciting to see an alternative.

    I've always loved it when learners re-write or re-state what they're learning because of the spin they can put on it. Comics are fun to draw, but so many kids feel limited by their artistic abilities (including myself), so this is a great way to bridge that gap.

    This would also be a great way to put together some kind of review book on a unit. I often break up content for kids to work on and they could chronicle what they're learning as a comic narrative to look back to during studying. They could focus on making comics for mnemonics (or poems?) in a graphic way. Plus, we all love good puns.

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  16. This would be a great way to introduce a unit or review for a unit test. The students could also use it to summarize what they have learned in a lesson or unit. I like Kara's idea to use it to introduce class rules and procedures.

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  17. Even my stick figures are the pits so this is great for me! WIth it being again for the 13 year and older category unless you have a consent this limits me being 4th grade. I am also limited because our students do not have the one to one devices. I am doing a novel right now and the kids have to summarize each chapter as we read. I can totally see them using this as one option for them. I also have kids give me an "exit" answer of the day of something they learned. I can have them create one of these on Friday to use as a type of assessment. I also see using this as another fun way to journal our science lab activities or to use for any journaling. I also like the points that have been made about introducing a topic or concept using one that I have made. I know the first section of the newspaper that I always turn to is the comics I am sure kids would be tuned in a lot more.

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  18. I agree with other commenters that this tool would be useful to present rules and procedures to students in an engaging way. Teachers could create several for routine classroom activities: lining up, cafeteria rules, hallway rules, etc. I can also see this as a social learning tool for students with autism. Individualized social stories are created for situations that are difficult for students with autism. Visuals -especially this cartoon format usually works much better as a way to encourage more socially appropriate behavior and once created could be used over an over when needed. Students could create a cartoon to demonstrate an understanding of subject/ predicate with the two box layout or students could illustrate the parts of speech.

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  19. I cannot draw. I tell my students that an artist I am not, and to pretend that those are great figures. This would take all of that away. Of course, I think they like being able to laugh at my drawings! This could help in visualizing the proportion idea of shadows and tall objects using proportional triangles. Usually this topic comes up in class during winter, when it is too cold to go outside. This would help recreate those ideas while staying warm inside! Students could use this to help get their idea across if I made the cartoon, and then they filled in their bubbles. I could use that to see exactly what the student knows and where I should redirect!

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  20. As a coach this tool took me some time to think how I would use it in my work. I loved all the ideas the teachers came up with for use in their rooms and ideas that I can share with others.

    In my work I see me using this to start a training off with humor that would be a starting point of why the training will be beneficial to those in attendance. I have gotten many ideas of way to spice up my presentations.

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  22. I plan on using ToonDoo to replace a project that I give to my third year students. They have the option of filming a skit or creating a comic to depict a restaurant scene. In the past my students have used Comic Life (http://plasq.com/products/comiclife/win) to create comics using pictures that they have taken themselves. While I like this option, I think it would be good to change it up and let them put more of an artistic flare on it. I also think they would enjoy it more than the origial assignment since they get to learn how to use a new tool.

    If you've not seen/used Comic Life, it's a fun tool too!

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  23. Enjoyed the demo, Michelle. ToonDoo could be used to present a rather complex real-life mathematic problem that could be solved in different ways. Students then could be challenged to create segment two of the ToonDoo demonstrating how to solve the problem given.

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  24. I have students creating informational presentation for other students at feeder schools and this would be a much more interactive way for students to showcase their content. My kids have made a lot of prezis, but that novelty only lasts so long. We have to keep upping the anty.

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  25. I really like Brian B and Andrea E's ideas! Both would be ways I would think of to use the tool. I think this is a great tool for helping kids understand math concepts, as Robin F. also said. I think that any complex concept that might need a visual is a great use for this tool. It's good for those of us who can't draw but want to be artistic, but it is also a great way to do a 'still' of say, a movie they may have made using ExtraNormal. So instead of a movie, they can have the option of doing a ToonDoo. Allows some choice as well as another way they can express themselves. I used an entire comic version of a textbook I found that i used with preservice teachers, and all of the concepts were there without being text heavy or preachy. You can show through scenarios the same type of thing it would take more words to create. Most loved it, but that also showed me who's learning style was very different than that. So it may overstimulate some, but it is definitely a great option. The only other thing I will say is that I'm glad there was a wiki story on how to build a rubric around this type of assessment. it was helpful.

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  26. For biology, students could create a comic about a cell undergoing mitosis and/or meiosis. I don't teach immunology, but students could follow a bacteria or virus as it infects a person or animal. Maybe science students could do a science topic of the month that can be published in the school paper.

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  27. You could use this tool to do a weekly review of instruction. I would use it to make a book with pages containing the daily lesson on a particular subject. My lessons build on each other for the week starting with the basics and expanding to a more elaborate skill. The type of book I could make would walk them through how we arrived at the final lesson and skill learned in a fun way.

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  28. I was thinking my kiddos could use this as a final activity to wrap up a science or social studies unit-a chance to show what they know in an interactive way.
    I'm interested in looking into the Comic Life tool as well.

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  29. I saw this after I had led the students into the 31 other tools for digital storytelling. But I can add this as a choice for the logic books my geometry students write. This year I had my students write a conditional children's book and it could easily be adapted into a comic.

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  30. Love Michelle Roach's idea of chronicling a lab. I was really struggling on how to use this in the science classroom. This idea lead me to the idea of using this tool to an image of a cell and relate it to a factory or a school. Students could create a comic of a day in the life of an organism for our ecology unit.
    .

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  31. I might use ToonDoo as a way to teach point of view. I could have my students take the perspective of a minor character and create a new storyline. My struggling boys might find this an engaging way to write. It will keep their attention as they come up with new ideas.

    It could also be used to summarize a novel or short story. Summarizing is such an important skill and students sometimes struggle with it. As was mentioned above, this is a good tool to allow students minimumal space to get their point across.

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  32. Immediately I thought of the story we just finished "What Do Illustrators Do?" when seeing this. The students could use this to explain the steps of an illustrator when involved in a book project to show their understanding and have a much better time! As a teacher I could deliver information such as classroom rules and character education topics. Those can each be difficult for students to give undivided attention to, but this would help.

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  33. This tool could be used by asking a student to create a toon showing what life would look like and how things would be different if they woke up tomorrow and the issue they are having trouble with was gone. Looking for positives and hoping they get a vision of how things can be better.

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