20 Student Favorite Cartoon Creators

As I watched Tom Wujec’s TED talk today I was struck by the simplicity of his message. All teachers know that a good visual is key to success in the classroom. But what really intrigued me was the concept of students creating visuals to cement their learning. Over the past two years I have noticed that students who create visual projects in my class often retain information better than those who wrote papers.

In my project based classroom one of the most popular mediums for students projects has become cartoon creators. Not only do students enjoy creating these projects but the the process of taking their knowledge and depicting it visually on paper seems to be very effective in their learning process. I have often talked to students about one of their projects that they created at the beginning of the year and not only can they tell me about the project but they still remember the underlying concept taught at that time. This has always intrigued me and led me to create a long list of cartoon creators for students to use.

For those of you interested in giving this a try here are 20 of the most popular cartoon creators my students like to use.

  1. GoAnimate.com
  2. Toonlet.com
  3. Toondoo.com
  4. Pixton.com
  5. Chogger
  6. Comic Creator
  7. Comic Lab
  8. Make Believe Comix
  9. Strip Creator
  10. Strip Generator
  11. Zimmer Twins
  12. Do Ink
  13. Comic Strip Generator
  14. Comic Master
  15. Captain Underpants
  16. Comicbrush
  17. Marvel Comic Creator
  18. Witty Comic Creator
  19. Cartoon to Customize
  20. Bitstrips

14 Student Favorite Project Websites

Over the past two years my students have been allowed to create their projects in any format or medium in which they choose.  This had led to some amazing and creative projects that have not only inspired me but opened my eyes to what my students are truly capable of creating. I have noticed however that there seems to be certain sites and programs that they gravitate to every year.  So the following list, are sites that my students seem to use at some point every year and really seem to enjoy.

  1. Glogster: is always a fan favorite since they can add music video and images all in one project.  This virtual poster site is always one that I see multiple times a year.
  2. Photo Story 3: has become a big hit over the past year and a half.  This is a simple video creator that allows students to take a series of images place them in any order and then narrate each image and/or add text to each image. It then generates a movie adding in transitions and panning automatically to the video.  It is simple and creates great short informational videos. They do also have a mac version.
  3. Museum Box: This is a great site for history classes.  Students place items in a box that would help describe a person or event. They can add video, audio, images and text.  This site has led to some great projects.
  4. Goanimate: takes a bit of learning but is a animated video creator that students love to create their projects with.  It generates great animated cartoons that my students have used to explain many different historical events.
  5. Google Search Stories: is a great video creator for quick informational video clips.  It uses the Google search engine and results to tell a story or explain and event.
  6. Picture A Story: allows students to tell stories about history, explain topics or concepts using preloaded images characters and objects.
  7. Flixtime: Is another video creator that allows students to take a series of images ad create great videos to explain concepts or historical events.
  8. Poster 4 Teachers: Is a free program that allows students to create online projects and reports in a poster format.  It also allows them to create simple websites to explain or discuss topics presented in class.
  9. Slideroll: This site allows kids to create simple slide shows to tell a digital story.
  10. Animoto: This site allows students o create professional looking videos projects.  This site is easy and fun for students to use.
  11. Alice.Org:  A animated story creator. That also teaches programming. I have had a few students really get into programming after using this application.
  12. Digital Story Teller: This is similar to Photo Story 3 students can add text and audio to their digital stories.
  13. Kerpoof: Always a favorite site for students to create movies and other digital media.
  14. Fotobabble: This is really a card creator but students have used it in a variety of ways to narrate  a digital story and have used it a segment in other digital projects.

 

Want to revamp your presentations? Try these 10 programs!

Presentation ProgramsLets face it, when students see a PowerPoint presentation they moan and grown.  PowerPoint has been used so much that anymore students often tune out.  As a teacher I am always looking for new ways to present information to my students.  I still do use PowerPoint occasionally but have begun to use other programs as well and have found some of these to be quite useful.  After talking to some colleagues about this topic I decided that I would share some of the different programs I have found.  These programs are not only easy to use but a nice change for the students.  So here are the top ten alternate presentation programs that I have been using over the past year.

  1. Prezi is the first program that I found to be easy to use and entertaining for students.  This program allow you to simply place words, images and video in any order you would like.  It is very simple and the transition from topic to topic is very captivating for the students.  Also once you have created the Prezi it is saved on their website and available from any internet connection.
  2. Empressr is a lot like PowerPoint in its lay out and delivery.  It is an online program that allows you to upload video, images and audio.  It saves it on their server so that you can easily share your presentation on your own website, blog, or social networking page.
  3. Museum Box is a great site that students love.  This site allows you to create a box with different drawers and number of boxes to display your information.  This is very interactive and easily shared.  Again like the others you can add video, audio and images.  Great one to have student come up to the interactive board and explore each box and share what they find.
  4. Animoto is a great site to easily and quickly create videos for your classroom to present information.  This site will take your images, sound and video and then it creates movies that look like movie clips that can be fun for students to watch.  This is also a great site for students to use to create projects for class.
  5. Glogster is a site that allows you to present information in the form of a virtual poster.  You can imbed photos, sounds, videos and text right on the poster for students to view on their own or present to them in class.  Like Animoto, Glogster is a great site for kids to use to create projects for class.
  6. 280 Slides is simple put an online version of PowerPoint. However, it does allow you to easily link videos and images from the web into the presentation and it allows you to share your presentation easily on the web.
  7. Present it This site is like 280 slides this is a online version of PowerPoint.  This site does allow you to download your presentation so that you can use it offline as well.
  8. Wix is a flash website creator.  This site allows you to create interactive presentations or website to use in your classroom.  They have a great look to them and students seem to respond to these types of websites well.
  9. VIDDIX this site combines video with your PowerPoint type presentation.  It is a double window player that has video on the right and presentation notes or information on the right. This combination can be very powerful and really help to drive home your learning targets.
  10. SlideSix is a unique presentation application it allows you to record audio and video directly into your presentation.  It embeds the audio or video into your presentation allowing you to narrate slides and video.  It is easy to embed and share your final project.

School Year Resources Part Three: Digital Storytelling

The Boyhood of Raleigh, 1871
Image via Wikipedia

Digital storytelling has become a very popular method in conveying information in my classroom.  Students can collect images on a topic and use them to tell stories to show their mastery of the content discuss and studied in class.  Often times they are having so much fun that they do not even realize how much they have learned or that they are learning through this process. I have been utterly amazed at the conversations that I have had with students as they work on their projects.  The depth of learning can be quite amazing.  The following sites have been used by some of my students.  Again like the previous posts if you know of any others or have had any issues with any of these resources please let me know.

Virtual Posters

  1. Glogster

Digital Story telling

  1. Google SearchStories’s creator
  2. Scooch
  3. Welcome to Fotobabble – Talking Photos
  4. Animalia Digital story teller
  5. StoryBird
  6. Picture Book Maker
  7. Story Jumper
  8. Storytron
  9. My Story Maker
  10. Kerpoof
  11. Digital Story Teller
  12. TikTok
  13. Little Bird Tales
  14. Myths and Legends
  15. Webook
  16. Storytelling Alice
  17. YouTellYou
  18. AudioBoo
  19. Kizoa
  20. Flip Book
  21. Capzles
  22. Slide
  23. One True Media
  24. VoiceThread
  25. Book Builder
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School Year Resources Part Two: Cartoon Creators and Avatars

ToonDooEX

ToonDooEX (Photo credit: The Daring Librarian)

This is the second post in a series on resources for the upcoming school year.  As I collected these resources to get my own classroom ready for the school year I thought I would share that information with others to ask for advice and see if there are any great resources that I missed.  So, if you know of any other great links or have any helpful information about these please let me know.

Cartoon Creators and Avatars

Over the past couple of years as I have moved into a project based classroom.  I have had many students create some excellent projects using Cartoons and Avatars.  Some were animated cartoons and others were just regular print cartoons.  They have also used Avatars to present what they have learned in the class.  The key to these types of projects for me is the level of engagement that the students had through out the project.  The technology really kept them engaged and excited about learning and my students really enjoyed creating projects using these resources.  Many of these links were found by my students who then brought them to my attention and asked if they could use them for their projects.

Avatar Creators (Create Talking Avatars)

  1. Voki
  2. Blabberize
  3. Evolver
  4. Avatara
  5. Avatar.pho
  6. Doppelme
  7. SouthPark Avatar
  8. Portrait Maker
  9. Marvel Comic Avatar
  10. Face Your Manga
  11. Digimi
  12. Meez
  13. Go Animate
  14. Mixamo
  15. Animeeple
  16. Picasion
  17. LooGix

Cartoon Animators (Create Comic Strips)

  1. Toonlet
  2. ToonDoo
  3. Pixton
  4. Chogger
  5. Comic Creator
  6. Comic Lab
  7. Make Beliefs Comix
  8. Strip Creator
  9. Strip Generator

Video Animation Creators (Create animate video cartoons)

  1. XtraNormal
  2. Memoov
  3. Go! Animate
  4. Dvolver
  5. Digital Films
  6. Aniboom
  7. Fluxtime
  8. Animasher
  9. ZimmerTwins
  10. Scratch
  11. DoInk
  12. MovieStrom
  13. Creaza
  14. Fuzzwick
  15. Staged
  16. Moove Online

Past Posts on this Topic

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Want to Revamp You Class? Assess you Strengths

Well, it is that time of year again when teachers look back at the past year and forward to the next.  Many teachers are considering making changes to their courses and styles of teaching.  If you are in that boat here is a great tool to give you a start  on making those changes.  This assessment will help you determine your strengths and weaknesses.  It will allow you the ability to look at where you can make changes and support your strengths in your teaching.  While it did not hold any real surprises for me it got me thinking about some areas in which I could use some work and support in my classes.  Take a look at the this assessment at the following website.  http://literacyworks.org/mi/assessment/findyourstrengths.html

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Augmented Reality Post Five: Review of “Manifest Destiny” Game

Yesterday, I finally got to try out my Augmented Reality game, “Manifest Destiny“.  I was excited to give this a try and see how this new type of learning environment might work  with my students.  In the past I have run some short trial games to see how the software worked and all of the those tests the students seemed to really enjoy.  This was the first complete game with a specific learning target in mind that students had to completely discover on their own.  Students had no prior knowledge of the topic of “Manifest Destiny”.

GAME SETUP

The learning target for this game was: Students will be able to describe and define Manifest Destiny?

Students were given four questions to answer as they progressed through the game.

  1. What is Manifest Destiny?
  2. What are the three political factors influence the development of Manifest Destiny?
  3. What are the three social factors influence the development of Manifest Destiny?
  4. What are the three economic factors influence the development of Manifest Destiny?

Students were placed into groups of three and each student was a different character in the game. At each location each member of the team met a different historical figure.  The historical figure presented each student with some information. After the students listened to their historical character the students must then discuss what they have heard in their groups to get a complete answer.  Each member of the group received vital information that must be incorporated into the answer to each question.  Once they have answered their question the group then moves on to the next location.

Student Reaction

Students seemed to be very engaged in this type of learning environment.  They quickly learned how to use the device and how to use the interface of the program.  Both of these were concerns for me at the beginning of this exercise. Students really seemed to be enjoying themselves and all said that they would like to do this type of thing again.  Some of the complaints were that the questions were to hard.  They stated that they would like to just receive the answer and not have to try to figure it out at each location. Some said that they would like more interaction at each location.  they did not just want to be presented information at each place but rather interact with the device.

Assessment

In grading the assignment that went along with this activity all groups received a 70% or higher on the questions.  I felt as though the main learning target had been met by a majority of the class.  Something that might have worked out better was to not have the questions on the device but on a separate sheet of paper.  I did find that student engagement and motivation was very high for this activity.  However, the fact that this was a new activity with new technology might have a big part in the motivation.  All in all I thought that this type of learning environment showed a lot of promise.  I will be looking at doing another game shortly based off of what I learned from this game.

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An Intriguing Entry Task

This past week I came across a video by Daniel Pink called “Two simple questions that can change your life in 2010”.  This is a video to promote his new book called Drive.  As I watched this video I really began to think about my students and how many of them lack motivation because they do not have a purpose or goal in their lives.  So I decided to use this video as an entry task for my next lesson.  The results were very enlightening and really allowed me to gain some excellent insight about my students.  This is one of those exercises to go into the toolbox for future years to come.

As my students came into my room I told them to get a sheet of paper out.  Once they were all seated and the bell rang I played the video. When the video was complete we discussed motivation and its link to having a purpose.  I used the analogue about a dartboard.  If I do not have a clear goal it is like throwing darts at the dart board with my eyes closed.  I am unable to adjust and get frustrated that I can only hit the board occasionally.  But if I have my eyes open not only do I see what I am aiming at I can make adjustments to increase my chances for success.  After answering questions and making the link between finding what they like to do and using that as motivation to achieve in school.  I posed the following question to them.

“What is your sentence for this year at school?”

The answers that I received really surprised me.  I found out things that I did not know about my students.  I felt as though I really got to know some of my students and what they really wanted in life.  This was one of those exercises that really opened my eyes and is one that I will refine and definitely do again.  Click the link below to see the video.This past week I came across a video by Daniel Pink called “Two simple questions that can change your life in 2010”.  This is a video to promote his new book called Drive.  As I watched this video I really began to think about my students and how many of them lack motivation because they do not have a purpose or goal in their lives.  So I decided to use this video as an entry task for my next lesson.  The results were very enlightening and really allowed me to gain some excellent insight about my students.  This is one of those exercises to go into the toolbox for future years to come.

As my students came into my room I told them to get a sheet of paper out.  Once they were all seated and the bell rang I played the video. When the video was complete we discussed motivation and its link to having a purpose.  I used the analogue about a dartboard.  If I do not have a clear goal it is like throwing darts at the dart board with my eyes closed.  I am unable to adjust and get frustrated that I can only hit the board occasionally.  But if I have my eyes open not only do I see what I am aiming at I can make adjustments to increase my chances for success.  After answering questions and making the link between finding what they like to do and using that as motivation to achieve in school.  I posed the following question to them.

“What is your sentence for this year at school?”

The answers that I received really surprised me.  I found out things that I did not know about my students.  I felt as though I really got to know some of my students and what they really wanted in life.  This was one of those exercises that really opened my eyes and is one that I will refine and definitely do again.  Click the link below to see the video.

http://www.danpink.com/archives/2010/01/2questionsvideo

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Help!! 32 Handhelds and Two Months to Show Relevance in Education!

Over the past year I have been looking into augmented reality and how I can develop this medium for the classroom.  I have discussed this before in my blogs multiple times. (See links below.) At this point I have been lucky enough to convince my district to pilot 32 HTC Touch Pro 2’s in my classroom.  These devices will run windows mobile 6.5 and Goknow mobile software.  The district is going to pay for the data plans through Verizon.  This will allow me to begin to develop different types of augmented reality learning environments for my students.  At the present I see that I will use Mscape and Goknow, including  their multiple applications that they provide  with their service, to begin creating these learning environments.  The purpose of this blog is to asked others what have you used to create these type of learning environments?  Also what are your experiences using augmented reality in the classroom?  Since this is a pilot program that is getting started late in the year I don’t have much time to convince my district of the validity of these types of learning environments.  So any help here would be great so that I can prove the worth of these devices and be able to retain them for the upcoming school year.

  1. Augmented Reality How do you use it?
  2. Augmented Reality Lesson Plan “History Detectives”
  3. Augmented Reality with Bing Maps The Wave of the Future?
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Interactive Learning Content for your Students with “Magic Studio”

Magic Studio provides teachers the ability to create interactive content for their classes.  Teachers can create Drag and drop activities that allow students to manipulate content by dragging items to specific locations to show learning.  Teachers can also combine different multimedias by embedding them into an image, and then allow students to explore the image exposing students to different types of media and content.  Teachers can also create online presentations, quizzes and even interactive timelines for students to explore and learn.  These are some great tools for creating interactive online content for students and is a resource that would be very beneficial for any teacher.

Check out this resource at http://www.magicstudio.com/

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