There I was, sitting in the Chadron State College Student Center with a website called ToonDoo pulled up on my laptop. ToonDoo is a website you can use to make comic strips on and use graphics to tell a story. Anyway, I’m getting glances as people take a look at my laptop screen and then at me. They are probably wondering what in the world a college student is doing on a comic making website and what type of class allows them to do that!
The first thing I had to do was create an account. That alone took me a while to do. Every username I typed in was already taken! I went through my whole name before it finally allowed me to make my username MikaelaFranz. Two letters away from my whole name and two letters away from me choosing a different website. The next step was choosing what type of comic I was going to make. Was I going to make a 3 window strip comic? Perhaps I only needed one window. I finally settled on the 4 window square comic. Next was trying to come up with what I was going to create a comic about. To be fair, I probably should have thought about what I was making the comic strip about before choosing that I was going to create 4 windows worth of material.
What was I going to make my comic strip about. I had no clue. There were so many possibilities, yet I couldn’t even think about one. A break was needed.
After a short break, I found myself back at my laptop. What on Earth was I going to create a Toon about?! Procrastination! I have a great habit of doing that!
As far as using this in a classroom, I totally would! I love the idea of having the minds of students go wild with imagination. I would be great to see where their minds lead them and see the outcome of what they can do when given the chance to do it! I also believe that there is a benefit to presenting information in a graphic kind of style. You can verbally say information as many times as you want, but some students need to see what they are learning. Especially if it is seen in a fun way!
Podcasts are becoming more and more popular in today’s world and with technology growing, digital story telling like those that happen in podcasts open up a person to a world of opinions and facts. Imagine the one piece of information or one subject that you have longed to know about. All of a sudden, you have the information you’ve always wanted to know about at the tip of your fingers. For those who have a hard time reading, it’s helpful for them to listen to the information instead of having to read it. You have the opportunity to keep your students involved and interested in the lesson. It also opens up a new world of opinions and information that they might never have the chance to have without podcasts.
While there are so many advantages to podcasts, there are also a few disadvantages. When you open up the world of podcasts to students, you are also opening a world of possibly negative information that they can access of they are not careful. Some of these negative podcasts can be etched into the minds of students and can cause undesirable outcomes to their education.
I would consider having my students create podcasts or digital stories. Mostly because some students feel more comfortable having their voices recorded during a presentation to the class rather than having to stand up their and speak in front of the class where they can get nervous and forget their train of thought in front of the whole class. It gives students a second option to class presentations as well as gives them an outlet to get their creative juices flowing. It gives them an opportunity to get their opinions in the real world as well as the information that they know and want to share.
An article I read called “Meaningful Stories: How Teens Connect with StoryCorps and Podcasts” by Linda Flanagan brought the practice used by Alex Fernandez into her article. “Social science teacher Alex Fernandez is encouraging his students to think about these deeper experiences by spending one day a week discussing their own life stories and sharing them with classmates. At the end of the school week, he sits down with his students at World Language High School, in Chicago’s tough Little Village neighborhood, and invites them to talk about their futures (Flanagan, 2015).”
Students should want to share their personal stories without the thought of being made fun of or judged for what they have been through. By sharing their stories, not only will the people that they know get to know them better, but they have the opportunity to help someone across the country or world.