Believe it or not

Lest we focus all of our activities on Bitstrips for Schools, we must remember that Comic Life is also licensed by the Ministry of Education for all Ontario publically funded schools.  It’s a terrific program as well and completes the package.  Instead of a drawing program, it’s more of an assembly program where you put your own creative content into comic/graphic novel format.

Recently, I did a quick presentation to secondary school CIESCs and wanted to show off the assembly power with the application.  As I was driving to the location of the presentation, I was thinking about the Ripley’s Believe It or Not cartoons that are designed for entertainment and most importantly information.  It then dawned on me that this would easily be replicated as a research technique for the classroom.

You could have the dramatic effect and incorporate some research into the production.  Definitely a way to go.

What to research?  What to research?  What to research?

Hey, I went to Niagara Falls this past summer and did what every tourist did.  I took pictures of the falls and marvelled over the awesome power that you can see so vividly from anywhere near the Niagara River.  Sure enough, I had the pictures on my hard drive and I found a great one.

From the Graphic Novel set of layouts, I chose “O” to give me a big blank screen for my picture.  Using the image explorer, I found a great picture on my hard drive and brought it in and moved it around to put it place.

I need some quick factual research.  In this case, I was really in a hurry so rather than work through my holiday brochures, I head to Wikipedia for their Niagara Falls entry.  The first two paragraphs look great so I highlight and copy them.  I’ve got to paste them into the document.  Hmmm.  There’s a lot of links there that will carry the HTML with them.  Got to get rid of them.  As I’m planning this and thanking myself for learning HTML, I came up with a brainstorm.  What’s the simplest editor on my computer?  Notepad, of course.  I paste into there and voila, all the HTML is gone.  Select it all again and copy it and I’m text only and good to go.

Back in Comic Life, I suppose I could use a speech bubble, but I drag the “Back at Stately Wayne Manor” box out and paste the text into it.  It expands nicely, converting everything to all caps and italics at the same time.  Great!  I resize that box so that it’s nicely in place.  “Later that day” is nicely shaded style!  I’ll copy some of the key words and make them bold.  This is really shaping up nicely.  Better quote my source.  Done.  Ripley’s makes sure to give credit to its contributors too.

Finally, we need to draw attention to our research.  A great title will draw attention to this masterpiece and we’re done!

What a great way to publish research!  If that doesn’t motivate you to read for research and publish for an audience….
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