Use Comic Life, a digital graphic software to encourage multigenre writing!

In this blog post I will document my research and exploration of Comic Life which is a digital graphic writing device. I decided to reflect on Comic life from a Multigenre writing point of view.

Click here for an introductive tutorial to Comic Life.

What is Comic Life?“Comic Life is a software package from Plasq. You can easily create a range of posters and publications using this software. It is brilliant for digital storytelling. You can add speech bubbles and fun text which can easily be manipulated to change shape, colour and size. Photos drag and drop into the frames”.

According to my opinion, the writing process in the modern classroom is improving, however there are still teacher who provide students only with prompt for essays or classical approach to writing. I am worried about the lack of motivation for students to write and I know that the medium and the guidelines change it all. In the classroom, students are still asked to write essay that answer a prompt respecting a structure that is most of the time restrictive and discouraging. Multigenre approach encourages students to write as much as they can every day.

 

What are the advantages of multigenre writing?:

• It increases their love for writing and takes away their fear from the structure.

• It allows the personal choice of the medium of publication

• It allows a personal choice for organizing the subtopics.

• It is an artistic expression

• It allows multiple voices

• It allows the personal choice of the genre: First person narrative such as:

Third person narrative

Stream of consciousness

Interior Monolog

Dialog (written in play format)

Poems for two voices

Free verse

Photograph poem

Haiku

Limerick

List poem

Dramatic monolog

Song lyrics

• Etc…

I am adopting the multigenre approach as it is a current concept that allows students to present a topic using multiple genres. Each genre represents a part of a whole project. Each pieces of genre has the purpose to convey information on one face of the topic.

Therefore, the multigenre project can be seen as a collage of genre personally chosen by the student to inform, argue or compare ideas.

Tom Romano is an expert in the multigenre writing and he inspired me to enjoy writing by being creative and expressing my opion. He is a quote to better understand the concept:

“A multigenre paper arises from research, experience, and imagination. It is not an uninterrupted, expository monolog nor a seamless narrative nor a collection of poems. A multigenre paper is composed of many genres and subgenres, each piece self-contained, making a point of its own, yet connected by theme or topic and sometimes by language, images and content. In addition to many genres, a multigenre paper may also contain many voices, not just the author’s. The trick is to make such a paper hang together. (x-xi)

In my classroom I would definitely use Comic Life as a genre a part of a multi genre writing project and spirit in order to promote creativity and a funny approach to express a personal voice, a dialogical voice (multiplicity of perspectives and voices), heteroglossia (analysis emphasises the combination of existing statements or speech-genres to construct a text)or polyphonic (multiple voice)point of view. I enjoy those voices ‘concept of

Bakhtin who were discourse theorist.

 

Why is Comic Life an entertaining pedagogical tool for my students who have basic and advanced skill in writing?

• Comic Life would be for my students a writing tool to represent knowledge in a visual way by adding symbols and picture to the text. So I could use this tool to have my students invent a picture book in a comic strip version.

Philip Wane mentioned that Comic Life can provide “individuals and social groups who lack the required level of written literacy with the ability to effectively communicate ideas”. I would definitely use Comic Life from the first cycle of the primary in order to further develop this specific ability to write and convey ideas with images, symbols and key words or simple phrases.

• Comic Life make it easy to learn and understand concept, as well as transmitting them as it offers visual graphics containing key information

• Comic Life engages the critical thinking and the creativity

• Comic Life allows expression of voices through inventing comic characters and dialogues

• Comic Life allows student to write in a way that is structured and challenging

They need to focus on the conceptual links between the text and the images. The challenge is motivating as it is visual, creative and not too restricted in term of structure as they can choose the amount of strips and bubbles.

How would I use Comic Life in the classroom to teach grammar and conceptual ideas?

• Philip Wane mentioned that “The use of comic strips offers great potential for the production of both general teaching materials and targeted training materials”

Practice grammatical notions with sequencing verb action illustration them with images

• Comic Life can be used to illustrate new vocabulary word in a simple story reminding the picture book in a comic Life version approach

• Comic Life can be used to write point of view on a debate creating opposite characters regarding their philosophy, beliefs, values and principles.

• Comic Life can be used to challenge students to express argumentative thinking on a topic through exploring the concept of the Other by playing a role of someone who is in an opposite racial, social or political situation.

• Comic Life can be used to illustrate and teach historical events downloading picture of historical characters and relating a part of the History even using historical fiction.

Comic Life can definitely be used in all the learning areas and subjects. John Larkin explains it and give further detailed suggestions such as the following:

“Human Society and Its Environment: Recreate a key moment in history, a geography field trip or a legal argument.

PDHPE: Illustrate safety in sport.

Religion: Recreate a story from the bible or illustrate a moral dilemma.

 Mathematics: Create a tongue in cheek analysis of shapes and angles wherein the comic book characters are debating the pros and cons of the cartoon panel shape that entrap them.

 Science: Recreate those eureka moments in science. Give a voice to electrons, leaves, planets and internal organs.

 Creative Arts: Reproduce a drama. Experiment with new artistic styles.

English: Create a comic based version of a Shakespearian play. Recreate the dialogue from a movie.

 Languages: Illustrate a conversation and dialogue in real life scenarios presented in comic book format.

 Technology and Applied Sciences: An illustrated cook book, a metalwork safety primer, computer software how-to’s just like the ones attached to this page”

 

My final reflection on the use of Comic Strip in the classroom and in a multigenre writing project for basic and advanced writers:

I think that Comic Life is a user friendly tool that makes the learning creative, entertaining and easy to share. Comic Life is a great free tool that should be used in the classroom even for the flipped classroom as the students learn creating a math, historical or English project that has a meaningful topic and problematic to be solved. Use Comic Life to have your students develop their writing skills and start to love writing!

Enjoy Comic Life and any multigenre projects you’ll create!

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