Monday, June 16, 2008

Web 2.0 assignment #3--bitstrips

I was inspired by Tamara to make a comic strip using bitstrips.com. To do this, I went to the website and created an account. I then got used to the software by making an avatar of myself. I then poked around with the website and looked at all of the different things that you can do with the comic strips and I also looked at the comics that other people had made.

Eventually, I conjured up the courage to make my own comic (pictured below and inspired by the Warner school). The learning process that culminated with this comic strip was actually pretty difficult for me. It took a lot of practice and frustration to figure out how to manipulate the scenes, people, and props without screwing up the entire frame of the comic. There was no real how-to on the website, so my learning process was really a trial and error type of learning.

My lack of familiarity with online art creation was probably one of the biggest challenges that I faced in creating this comic. Also, there were very rigid things that could and could not be done. For instance, many of the scenes are pre-made. There is also a list of pre-made props and objects that you can insert into the comic. For me this was very frustrating because I was not able to exactly bring to life the image that I had in my head. I also think that I am still quite novice with this software. From looking at the comics from other people, there has to be some controls that I just haven't figured out yet. (so if you know how to create your own scene then I would love to learn how...other than pick that selection from the side menu bar...I tried that and it got me nowhere).
In making this comic, I participated in a variety of literacy practices. This whole assignment began when I heard about the website from Tamara in class and from our class blog. I then used a lot of technologically related literacy practices to navigate the bitstrip.com website. The creation of this comic strip in itself is also a literacy practice.
I can see how this web 2.0 assignment linked back to the theory that we have been reading about in several distinct ways. The first link that I am able to make is the idea of learning from masters that Gee suggests: “The process involves “masters” creating an environment rich in support for learners. Learners observe masters at work. Masters model behavior accompanied by talk that helps learners know what to pay attention to…learners are aware that masters have a certain socially significant identity that they wish to acquire as part and parcel of membership to the larger cultural group” (pp. 12). On this website there are clearly dedicated souls that are experts (masters) at creating bitstrips. While I did not interact with any of these masters, there is the opportunity to leave messages on comics in a message board venue. Also, I figured out some of the different things that I could do by looking at the comics that others had previously created on the website.
Second, I think that this website could be used as a distinct tool within the classroom. As Rogoff (2004) suggests, “Rather than trying to select only one model to use in all situations, we may do well to foster children’s and our own flexibility in using different models in different circumstances” (pp. 226). Introducing students to bitstrips, or the idea of creating comics or drawings in general, to represent what they know may allow students to increase what they have in their tool boxes.

1 comment:

Life's a comic strip said...

Well written! You might want to try www.toondoo.com, another site for creating toons but this one would be much less taxing on cognitive resources(for both children as well as adults)and need no prior practice and / knowledge whatsoever (other than knowing how to drag and drop with a mouse!)

Do check it out!