Posts Tagged ‘screen captures’

I have already blogged about one cartoon creation webtool, Chogger, which is so far my favourite one to use. There are a couple of other alternatives for you and your pupils to make your own comic strips, and I’m going to introduce two of these today, Witty Comics and Make Beliefs Comix. These are both decent little tools, simple to use and with enough range to make them useful for a range of activities.

Starting with Witty Comics, go to the website here and click join to sign up (though you don’t necessarily have to). It is, naturally, free (long live free webtools!) Once you have done so you then have your 3 strip comic panel infront of you. You can adapt the background by clicking on the icons in the scene section, and change your characters by choosing which person you want for character 1 and 2. For the words, simply type in what you want them to be saying and choose the relevant speech bubble. And that’s really it! As I sau, there isn’t much else you can do with them, so possibly it doesn’t have as much flexibility as Chogger, but it does the job. Here is one I’ve quickly done for this blog.

You can click on this link to see it as well.

Make Beliefs Comix is very similar but you have a couple more options, as you can add more objects and move characters around the panel a bit more so there is more flexibility and therefore it could be used in more situations for vocabulary and so on. It is also a little more ‘cartoony’ than Witty Comics. You don’t have to signup which does mean that you have to either print out, screen capture or email to people if you want to store your comic creation, which is a little inconvenient as I am a natural hoarder and like to be able to find everything easily on the site I go to! With this site you click on things that then go into a ‘selection window’ . You click on the panel that you want this image, scene or speech bubble to go into and double click. You can then adapt them by using the tools on the right. When you are done, click next, and then make sure you have a printer attached if you want to print it out as you need to do this straight away. I have screen captured my one below with Jing, but you can also email them to classes or yourself to print out late.

There are a lot of uses for these comic creation sites, probably mostly with your younger year groups, either recent starters or maybe groups wth 1 or 2 years of the language. They can be language introduction tools, sources for comprehension exercises, ways of creating a picture that pupils can describe orally perhaps, and of course they can create their own to do writing practise in  a more creative way. My 3rd form pupils have a couple of their creations stuck into their exercise books, and they can be used nicely as simple display options for walls, pinboards and your door. Nice, easy and effective.

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At our last staff INSET in which each department had to talk about innovation within lessons,  this was the last thing I showed off as the Spanish department took centre stage for use of technology in lessons. (it was amusing to see panicking teachers from other departments before this INSET, given that a number of staff here still struggle with email and word processing!) I had shown off Vokis, GoAnimate and Chogger first, but thought I would show Jing as it is something everyone can use. It isn’t a language creation tool, but actually a way of making videos of what you are doing on screen, or indeed taking screen shots.

I have used it a great deal since I found out about it in September. When pupils send me prep via email, I take a video of me marking their prep on screen, talking through their mistakes and explaining why things are wrong, and highlighting best bits of writing and so on. You have a maximum of five minutes to talk through it and this is more than enough to explain most things fully. The best bit of this is that you give much fuller feedback than you can marking by pen or just by correcting things on the screen, as there is a much more ‘personal’ approach. The feedback I have got back from certain pupils includes ‘every teacher should use this’, ‘I showed my parents and they were amazed at how useful it is’ and a number of pupils now do all their written preps via email so they can get more out of their feedback. I’ve also used it for UCAS personal statements with my Upper 6th tutees.

Other potential uses include showing pupils how to find resources (make a screenshot video of you going to places on the internet for example) or how to use other webtools (I’ve done short bideos for various web 2.0 tools already) and to create documents with screenshots of various things. All of the images in the first four blog entries were taken with Jing for instance.

Jing is free to download from the following address http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html?gclid=CNzGkf7ulq8CFYsntAodoHk9Uw . When you have downloaded it, you will need to open the program (it will be under Techsmith) and then a yellow half sun will go to the top of your computer screen. Click on the sun to choose the video or screenshot option and then record as normal. (Make sure your mic is enabled – the program will ask you for this the first time you use it). When you have finished, you have the option to save or to send to someone. If you choose the send option it creates an automatic link which you can past into an email. All of your videos are also uploaded to a screencast account, which gives you plenty of space for a lot of videos.

I find Jing indispensable, and some of the other staff at my school are now using it as well, having got over their fears of moving out of the 19th century! It makes marking a much fuller process and really helps pupils with the quality of feedback for their work.

Here is a link to a Jing tutorial to help you get to grips with it. Good luck, I’m sure it will be really useful.