Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pixton – Cool Free Web-based Software

Cartooning is made easy and accessible for all students with this free web-based software. Pixton is a free web-based software that allows students to create comic strips. Pre-Made characters are built as “puppets” so students are free to pose them however they would like. There are a built-in pre-made poses for anyone trying to get that perfect karate kick. Students are able to make comic books for free, but if additional features are desired pay options do exist. 
Howdy Partner
Students have never been more engrossed in a web-based software than when we used this one. The customization and freedom of expression worked great for my students. That said on my end there were a couple of challenges. Students can only make 6 panels so if their story extended, they had to make a “second” comic strip. For assessment, sending links does not work. What we decided to do was have students pull up their comics on a computer, have each comic strip on a different tab and we did a gallery walk of sorts. This worked well enough.

With Customizable Swimwear
How does this fit into a math classroom? Again very very carefully. This is the type of project that without solid structure on the teacher’s part can be on the fast track to learn-nothing-about-math-ville. In other words, the math project plague. I’ve been there. I’ve had students look up their favorite car on the computer to find the price and features. I know how this can become a dreadful waste of time without solid structure. At times, I like students to conclude a math project with some sort of analysis presentation whether it be a PSA or a jury trial. This can just as easily be used for those conclusions. How I use class time with this is the careful issue. It is certainly something I’m more likely to ask students to do at home.

I have used this software in my technology class. I asked students to imagine the world in 2030 and included 10 science-based inventions that are in development today. I asked students to construct a narrative built around a character trying to accomplish a goal. Basic story structure. I had some really awesome projects that exceeded my expectations. If you are also teaching English, Social Studies, Science, World Language, etc. this might be a really cool resource for you.

Would I use this in a math class? There are only a few topics I would even consider it (such as translating algebraic and verbal expressions). Otherwise it might serve best in a role play where someone is teaching someone else a math concept. I don’t feel a rock solid foundation that connects to a math concept, so I’d be extremely hesitant. Nonetheless, it’s super duper fun and someone in your building may love it!


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