Create a comic/cartoon book

toondoo-logo.jpg There are several  comic creators available and they are a great tool in the classroom for communication exercises, story writing, reporting factual information and so on.  For some students, this is definitely a more appealing option than writing an essay or story on paper.  My personal favourite is Toondoo as it is facilitiates one step further than a comic strip, that is, the making of a (toon) book.  When you create your comic strips, you need to save your pages in a ‘toonbag’.    Open an account (free), enter your username and password to begin creating.  The speed of loading pages can be a little slow depending on your connection, so be patient (it is worth the effort).  Go to ‘create’ on the startup page and you will see this screen:

Making a book is relatively easy process. When you create your comic strip, you need to save your pages in a ‘toonbag’.  At the ‘start here’ option above,  save your work (click on the disk icon and make sure you check the box ‘save to toonbag’. There are also options to keep your work private or public. Publish your work to save it.

When you have finished collecting pages for your book, go back to the starting page, click on ‘Books’ and dropdown menu will include  ‘my toonbag’.

From your toonbag, you can rearrange your pages and tick the pages you want included in your book.  Click on ‘make a book’ and your book is ready.

Here’s an example of what can be done using Toondoo, a book created by Toondoo user, hainesk, a student, on cyber bullying.   A great classroom tool to bookmark. 

Anyone have any other favourite comic/cartoon resources?

Getting started with Web 2.0 tools

It can seem a little overwhelming knowing where to start with facilitating Web 2.0 tools in the classroom for teachers who are trying to embrace 21st century learning. I was so captured by this wiki: Webtools4u2se that I thought it would be a great tool to introduce teachers to cool tools and what is great about the wiki is that it gives lots of ideas for using the tools. Designed for school library media specialists, it is an ideal starting place for all educators.  It is very informative with a bright inviting home page (this is created using Glogster). It also has a page dedicated to Why Web 2.0 tools? Tools include:

  • audio and podcasting
  • blogs
  • calendars, task management and to do lists
  • drawing, charting and mapping tools
  • portal and web page starting tools
  • photo and photo sharing tools
  • presentation tools
  • quiz and polling tools
  • news feeds and aggregators
  • social networks
  • video tools and video sharing
  • wikis
  • productivity tools

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Another great starting place for teachers wanting to know how to start or where, is Anne Mirtschin and Jess McCulloch’s project and wiki for laying the foundations for using Web 2.0 technologies for teaching and learning. Visit their wiki at: Laying the e-planks for a Web 2.0 school. Anne and Jess are embracing 21st century literacies at their Hawkesdale P-12 College (a small rural p12 school, educating 5 – 18 year old students om Victoria, Australia) and are documenting what they have achieved as well as their goals on the wiki.

In the Planks page, they have resources to important issues related to Web 2.0 use, such as cybersafety, digital media and copyright, joining networks and creating an online space. To follow their journey you can subscribe to their eplanks podcasts.

Here is a great  wiki, 23 Things introducing Web 2.0 tools to teachers. It is a 10 week course for teachers. Although it cannot be joined it gives a list of resources that are to be covered in the course. If you are interested in learning more about the course, participating in a future course session, facilitating the course at your own school or adapting the content under Creative Commons, please email Shelley Paul @ k12learning20@gmail.com

Employers check out Facebook

Employers are not just accepting prospective applicants’ resumes, they are checking out their social networking forums.   In too much information, the authors discuss how people will post just about anything on social networking sites.  They warn that it is becoming routine for prospective employers to scour applicants profiles via  Facebook or MySpace to find out more about the person than what is stated in their resume.   Prospective applicants have lost job opportunities when their Facebook profile exposes them in a non-favourable light.

There is also the question of safety.  Many people will accept Facebook’s request to be a friend without even knowing who they are linking with.  They reveal personal details which could be used for identity theft.

Educating young people to build profiles which identify their talents and strengths via blogs and e-portfolios will enable them to present a positive image for their future job prospects.  Awareness of stranger-danger online will safeguard their identity.  Web 2.0 tools are great, but they need to be used with awareness.