Tag Archives: comic

Top Ten Blog Posts 2018

This year I have written only 17 blog posts, in 2017 it was 21 blog posts, in 2016 it was 43 blog posts, in 2015 I wrote 24 blog posts. In 2014 I wrote 11 and in 2013 I wrote 64 blog posts and over a hundred in 2012. In 2011 I thought 150 was a quiet year!

Do signs work?

The tenth most popular blog post in 2018 was asking So do signs work? This article from 2013 described some of the challenges and issues with using signage to change behaviours. So do signs work? Well yes they do, but often they don’t.

The post at number nine was my podcast workflow, published in 2011, this article outlines how and what equipment I use to record the e-Learning Stuff Podcast. This is only one way in which to record a remote panel based podcast, and I am sure there are numerous other ways in which to do this. I have also changed how I have recorded over the two years I have been publishing the podcast due to changes in equipment and software. It’s probably time to update it, though I am not doing as much podcasting as I use to.

Dropping three places to eighth was 100 ways to use a VLE – #89 Embedding a Comic Strip. This was a post from July 2011, that looked at the different comic tools out there on the web, which can be used to create comic strips that can then be embedded into the VLE. It included information on the many free online services such as Strip Creator and Toonlet out there. It is quite a long post and goes into some detail about the tools you can use and how comics can be used within the VLE.

The post at number seven, climbing one place, was Comic Life – iPad App of the Week. Though I have been using Comic Life on the Mac for a few years now I realised I hadn’t written much about the iPad app that I had bought back when the iPad was released. It’s a great app for creating comics and works really well with the touch interface and iPad camera.

Sixth most popular was a post from 2018, called “I don’t know how to use the VLE!” This blog post described a model of VLE embedding and development. This post was an update to the model I had published in 2010.

In at number five, is also a post from 2018, Why does no one care about my digital strategy? This post described some of the background to the leadership briefing I wrote with Lawrie Phipps on the digital lens.

digital lens

Holding at fourth, is Can I legally download a movie trailer? One of the many copyright articles that I posted some years back, this one was in 2008, I am still a little behind in much of what is happening within copyright and education, one of things I do need to update myself on, as things have changed.

Dropping one place back to third, was Frame Magic – iPhone App of the Week, still don’t know why this one is so popular!

FrameMagic - iPhone App of the Week

Back in 2015 I asked I can do that… What does “embrace technology” mean? in relation to the Area Review process and this post was the second most popular post in 2018, last year it was in sixth place, so it’s getting more popular.

Once again, for the sixth year running, the number one post for 2018 was the The iPad Pedagogy Wheel.

The Padagogy Wheel

I re-posted the iPad Pedagogy Wheel as I was getting asked a fair bit, “how can I use this nice shiny iPad that you have given me to support teaching and learning?”. It’s a really simple nice graphic that explores the different apps available and where they fit within Bloom’s Taxonomy. What I like about it is that you can start where you like, if you have an iPad app you like you can see how it fits into the pedagogy. Or you can work out which iPads apps fit into a pedagogical problem.

So there we have it, the top ten posts 2018.

e-Learning Stuff – Top Ten Blog Posts of 2013

Oxford

A little later than planned. Well 2013 was an eventful year for me, moving jobs after seven years at Gloucestershire College. I have continued with writing blog posts. There was a lot less writing on the blog this year with just 64 posts, which averages about one a week. Here are the top ten blog posts of 2013. Interestingly this year eight of the posts are from 2013. Half of the posts are app reviews from my series “App of the Week”.

10. Frame Magic – iPhone App of the Week

I wrote about Frame Magic in June and it is one of the many photographic and image apps I have used and reviewed.

9. Is the Scroll of Death Inevitable?

This article from May looked at how the default setup of a Moodle installation, the way in which we do training will inevitably result in the Moodle “scroll of death”.

8. Comic Life – iPad App of the Week

Though I have been using Comic Life on the Mac for a few years now I realised I hadn’t written much about the iPad app that I had bought back when the iPad was released. It’s a great app for creating comics and works really well with the touch interface and iPad camera.

7. 100 ways to use a VLE – #89 Embedding a Comic Strip

This is an older post from July 2011, that looked at the different comic tools out there on the web, which can be used to create comic strips that can then be embedded into the VLE.

It is from my ongoing series of ways in which to use a VLE. This particular posting was about embedding a comic strip into the VLE using free online services such as Strip Creator and Toonlet.

It is quite a lengthy post and goes into some detail about the tools you can use and how comics can be used within the VLE.

The series itself is quite popular and I am glad to see one of my favourite in the series and one of the more in-depth pieces has maintained itself in the top ten, dropping two places from last year.

6. Show what you know [Infographic] – Updated

I liked Tony Vincent’s excellent Infographic on apps that can be used for different activities. This post was showing off his updated version.

5. Keynote – iPad App of the Week

Probably one of my longest blog posts that explores the iPad presentation app from Apple. I used the post to help me to understand the app better and what it is capable of.

4. VideoScribe HD – iPad App of the Week

I talked about VideoScribe HD in July and was impressed with the power and versatility of the app for creating animated presentations.

3. Educreations – iPad App of the Week

I was introduced to this app by a colleague at Gloucestershire College in 2012 and used it and demonstrated it a lot to staff. It was great to see how they and their students used it to support their learning over the year. 2

2. Thinking about iTunes U

Maintaing its position at number two, is this blog post on iTunes U, which followed posts on iBooks 2 and iBooks Author. I discussed the merits and challenges that using iTunes U would bring to an institution. Back then I wrote, if every learner in your institution has an iPad, then iTunes U is a great way of delivering content to your learners, if every learner doesn’t… well I wouldn’t bother with iTunes U. I still stand by that, I like the concept and execution of iTunes U, but in the diverse device ecosystem most colleges and universities find themselves in, iTunes U wouldn’t be a solution, it would create more challenges than problems it would solve.

1. The iPad Pedagogy Wheel

This was my most popular blog post of the year (and if the stats are to be believed of all time on my blog). I re-posted the iPad Pedagogy Wheel as I was getting asked a fair bit, “how can I use this nice shiny iPad that you have given me to support teaching and learning?”.

It’s a really simple nice graphic that explores the different apps available and where they fit within Bloom’s Taxonomy. What I like about it is that you can start where you like, if you have an iPad app you like you can see how it fits into the pedagogy. Or you can work out which iPads apps fit into a pedagogical problem.

Allan Carrington who drew up the diagram has published a revised version, what I like about the original is the simplicity. The revised version is more complex, but as an introduction to what the iPad can do, I much prefer the simpler diagram.

Comic Life – iPad App of the Week




Comic Life Icon

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

Photo 02-04-2013 14 36 42

This week’s App is Comic Life.

Comic Life, the award winning photo comic creation software, has been redesigned for iOS. It’s the funnest, easiest and fastest way ever to create photo comics on a mobile device. Your comics come to life with our integrated reader on brilliant iOS displays. Easily go from taking photos to creating full comics all on one device with full page templates and panel layouts. Bring in photos from Photobooth or your library, and use our powerful editing and design tools to get exactly the look you want.

Comic Life 2.0 for iOS has everything you need for creating and sharing comics, including fun and quirky templates, stylized image filters, and an easy-to-use drag and drop placement. You have full control over the design of your comics with a huge selection design options – colors, fonts, gradients, balloons, captions, panels and more.

The Comic Life app is designed to parallel that of Apple’s iWork suite of apps, making it easy for you to transition your skills from Pages and Keynote to Comic Life. With similar tap functions and commands, it is simple to hit the ground running.

When your comic is complete, use the integrated reader to flip though the pages. You can also easily share your comic with other options: print, e-mail, or upload to Facebook and Twitter. Use the innovative In Tray option to share comics with nearby iOS devices. Comic collections provide a simple way to keep things tidy as the number of comics created on your iPad increases.

£2.99

I have been a fan of Comic Life for many years and when it came out for the iPad, I did buy a copy. I think this kind of app shows what a tablet, such as the iPad, can be used for, and certainly shows how it can be used as a creative tool. It was a good app with the first iPad, however it really came into its own with the release of the iPad 2 with the built-in cameras.

With the in-built cameras, it actually improves and speeds up workflow, compared to using a “normal” camera, iPhoto and an app like Comic Life on the Mac (or the Windows PC).

Comic Life is very much designed for working with photographs, though you can of course use drawings, but you would need to scan them in first. With a lot of scanners this means you also need a computer, however some of the HP all-in-ones use an in-built web server allowing you to scan and save the image direct to the iPad using Safari. This means you can use printed photographs or drawings too.

Continue reading Comic Life – iPad App of the Week

ComicBook! – iPhone App of the Week

ComicBook! – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s App is ComicBook!

ComicBook! is the FULL featured comic book creation app!

In only seconds, turn yourself and your friends into comic heroes or villains. Be the star in your own comic book adventures.

Realistic comic styling with a wide selection of: image filters, comic fonts, customizable captions, a library of classic comic graphics and dozens of multi-panel page layouts.

£1.49

If you downloaded Halftone recently following my review of it a few weeks ago and are now looking to do something more than just the single image in Halftone then you might want to have a look at one of the more dedicated comic creation app.

If you have an iPhone or iPod touch then I would suggest you have a look at ComicBook!

It allows you to quickly create a comic strip using existing photographs or you can take some with your built in camera. You can, after choosing a layout add those images, either from the library or take them with the camera.

Continue reading ComicBook! – iPhone App of the Week

Halftone – iPad App of the Week

Halftone – iPad App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s App is Halftone it is an universal app available for both iPad and iPhone.

Halftone adds an aged halftone-style printing effect to photos to give them a unique, vintage look. With 27 paper styles, nine built-in layouts, two caption styles, six different speech balloon styles, 24 stamps, and the ability to choose a font (including three embedded fonts), photos can be customized, then saved to the photo album, sent via e-mail, shared with friends on Facebook and Twitter, and printed.

£0.69

I do like this app, it is quick and easy to use and the results are pretty nice. What the app does is take one of your photographs and adds an aged vintage comic style look to it.

Continue reading Halftone – iPad App of the Week

100 ways to use a VLE – #89 Embedding a Comic Strip

Often many VLE courses look very “boring”, a list of resources and activities. Often many VLE courses look very “boring”, a list of resources and activities. This is partly down to the fact that a VLE is often seen by practitioners as a repository of content, with links to resources and activities. One way to break up the list is to use embedded graphics to enhance the visual appeal of the course on the VLE.

One use of graphic that can enhance the look of a VLE course or as a mechanism to engage learners is to embed a comic strip into the VLE course.

Comic strips can be serious as well as humourous. They can be used as the starting point for a discussion, to emphasise the key topics in an assignment, to engage learners in a particular subject or just to break up a list of other resources.

You can either use an existing comic strip or using a tool create your own.

Continue reading 100 ways to use a VLE – #89 Embedding a Comic Strip

ToonPAINT – iPhone App of the Week

ToonPAINT – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s App is ToonPAINT – Toon-FX.

ToonPAINT allows you to easily create awesome looking cartoon-paintings with your own photos.

Even if you have never drawn or painted before, ToonPAINT sets you up for quick success by providing a “MagiSketch” that you can simply color-in. It’s as easy as “paint-by-numbers”, but using your own personal images. Unlike other photography apps, ToonPAINT is not just an image filter — it’s a smart-painting application that enables you to express your creativity and obtain compelling results without requiring you to take Art classes.

Simply import a photo, create an “automagic” sketch of the photo, color-in at your leisure, and you’re done!

£1.19

I have said a few times in the past that I sometimes think the best Apps for the iPhone are the simple ones, the ones that do one thing well.

I was reminded of ToonPAINT recently by a photograph on Instagram, it had been “converted” in ToonPAINT before been uploaded to Instagram. I was impressed with the end result I checked out ToonPAINT, only to find I already had it! If I remember rightly I had bought it in the past, thought it was okay, but not what I wanted and forgot about it. As it is now on version 2.1, they have certainly improved it and it does exactly what you think it does, convert photographs (from the camera or the library) and convert it into a comic format. The key is that it does it very well and the end results do look like hand drawn comics.

So if you are using an application like Comic Life (on the Mac, Windows or the iPad now) you can create a series of comic images from photographs using ToonPAINT and then use them in the Comic Life application. Now it should be said that Comic Life does indeed have filters that do a similar trick, but I much prefer the results from ToonPAINT then the included ones in Comic Life.

The process in ToonPAINT is very simple, take a photograph, either with the camera or from your image library, the app converts it into a comic format, you then save it!

Simple!

If needed you can go in and edit the comicfying settings, changing the levels, thickness of lines, etc… This can help especially if the default settings don’t work just right, which from my experience was rare.

You can also colourise the resulting comic using a built in palette to create coloured comics. There are two extra in-app purchase tools, ToonColor and Photo Brush both are 59p each. I think ToonColor is worth buying, didn’t find Photo Brush as useful.

There are plenty of export options and this makes it easy to show off your pics.

Would like to have seen a Dropbox option so that I could then use the images on my Mac more quickly.

Overall I like ToonPAINT, it does what it does well and as a one trick pony, it does what I want it to do.

Get ToonPAINT in the App Store.

Strip Designer – iPad App of the Week

Strip Designer – iPad App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone and iPad Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s App is Strip Designer.

Be creative. Create your own personal comic book strips using photos from your photo album or iPhone camera.

Start by selecting one of the many included strip templates. Add photos to the cells. Position, scale and rotate the photos freely within the cells. Move, resize, and rotate cells to create your own personal layout.

Add text balloons, and position them on your photos. Choose font, color, opacity and text-size.
Add stickers with cartoon exclamations to spice up your stories.

While you work, you can freely pan and zoom to control even the smallest details.

Paint on photos or draw your own cells from scratch. Create masked images (“cutouts”) using photos from your photo-album, and position them anywhere on the strip.

Once you have finished your masterpiece you can save it to your photo album, email it to your friends, upload it to Facebook or Flickr, or create a Tweet with Twitter and Twitpic.

£1.79

Haven’t you done this one before?

Well yes…. though then I was reviewing the iPhone version of the app and was the first app I reviewed for the blog.

Since then Vivid Apps have made the app universal which means the app will work either on the iPhone or natively on the iPad.

Though I liked the iPhone version

Overall the app works very well, but as with any comic app, the key is the thought and planning that goes into the comic design process and writing before you even open the app. That is something to consider if you want your learners to create a comic as part of a learning activity.

Since I got my iPad I have been thinking that the larger screen would be great for creating comics, so the other day I did some searching and was pleased to find that Strip Designer was now universal (missed that somehow in the updates).

So how does the app work?

Well just like the iPhone version you start off with a blank canvas onto which you can place photographs.

There are various templates available.

Actually there are lots of templates available, you are bound to find what you need for whatever project you are working on. From a whole page, or a small strip, or a single frame, there are a lot of choices from which to choose. I was quite impressed with the range of templates and could see how I could fit them into the various ideas I had for making comics.

The app uses photos from your photo album, of course without the camera this means you do need to plan in advance or use the camera adapter and import photos direct into the iPad. The camera adapter certainly makes this app much more useful in a classroom situation as if you were using iPads in the classroom it is unlikely that you could sync the iPad with iTunes to get your photographs in from iPhoto.

Another way of getting images would be by “downloading” creative commons licensed images from Flickr or similar. These could then be imported into Strip Designer. You can resize images and move them about.

After placing the images you can add text, speech balloons and cartoon style “stickers”.

Alas you can’t create new stickers and are restricted by what’s available in the app. This is a pity.

There are  various export options, either save to the iPad, e-mail or send to your favourite social networking site.

You can save the image and it will be of high enough quality to print, this one I made I have had to make smaller to fit on the blog!

One of the criticisms I would make that is though there are “filters” for the photographs these are standard photography filters and none that I would say could be used to comicfy your photographs.

One of the things I like about Comic Life app (for Mac and Windows) is that you can comicfy photographs. So if that is the effect you are looking for then you will need to get another app to do that and then import the images into Strip Designer. However if you are happy using “real” photographs then this app is great for that.

Comics have plenty of scope for enhancing learning or for learners to create their own comics to demonstrate their understanding. As I said when I reviewed the iPhone version, overall the app works very well, but as with any comic app, the key is the thought and planning that goes into the comic design process and writing before you even open the app. That is something to consider if you want your learners to create a comic as part of a learning activity.

Comic Touch – iPhone App of the Week

Comic Touch – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will also work on the iPod touch.

This week’s App is Comic Touch.

Update: App has been updated to Comic Touch 2, which is free.

.

Make your photos come alive by giving them the Comic Touch. Add balloons to give your subjects thoughts and words. Add captions to describe the scene or give the photo a title.

Use the PhotoBooth-style warping effects to add some fun. Turn people into caricatures of themselves or give them bizarre expressions. Endless fun!

Share your creations via email or save them back to the Photo Library for even more sharing options.

£1.79 and a free Lite version

To be honest the iPhone is not really the best tool for working with images and graphics (no mouse or pen) however there are plenty of image manipulation and graphical applications in the App store.

I am a fan of Comic Life from Plasq and have used it quite a few times to create comics to support training. Plasq have produced an app for the iPhone that does something similar but for images (or photographs) on the iPhone.

You can take an existing image or even better take a photograph, and then comicfy it!

You can add a caption, speech bubbles, enhance the image and then save the image, e-mail it, or upload it.

What makes this work over some other comic apps on the App Store is that it is a simple app, there are other comic apps available with more features, and I will cover some of these in a later posting.

One of the advantages of this App is that you can create comics on the fly on the phone. You don’t need to worry about booting up a computer or having the right app on the right computer, etc… you can take the image with the camera, comicfy it, and then share it. This is what makes Comic Touch (and other similar apps) such a powerful tool.

So you don’t want to pay £1.79 then there is a lite version that is free Comic Touch Lite.

The main difference is in the free version all the comics you make have a Comic Touch watermark.

So why would you use comics to enhance learning?

Comics can be used in many different ways to enhance and enrich learning activites, as well as other processes in the college. Think of it as just another medium to get a message across to learners.

  • Rather than have a written list of instructions for a particular activity, create a comic that as well as text has images that support the explanation of the instructions.
  • Create a comic of how to find help and support in the Library or Learning Resources Centre.
  • Add captions and speech balloons to a photograph to make a informative poster.

Basically to add variety to learning resources and handouts. To catch the interest of learners, engage them with what may be considered boring material. Learners can use the App to create stuff, storyboard videos, posters, etc….

UpdateApp has been updated to Comic Touch 2, which is free.

Strip Designer – iPhone App of the Week

Strip Designer iPhone App of the Week

I am hoping that this will be a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will also work on the iPod touch.

This week’s App is Strip Designer.

With Strip Designer you can create your own personal comic strip. Add your own photos, apply simple image filters to increase their impact, and add speech balloons and text-boxes. When you are done, save the resulting image to the iPhone’s photo album and email it to friends and family.

Cost £1.79

Comics can be used in many different ways to enhance and enrich learning activites, as well as other processes in the college. Think of it as just another medium to get a message across to learners.

  • Rather than have a written list of instructions for a particular activity, create a comic that as well as text has images that support the explanation of the instructions.
  • Create a comic of how to find help and support in the Library or Learning Resources Centre.
  • Add captions and speech balloons to a photograph to make a informative poster.

There are various comic creation apps for the iPhone, where Strip Designer is different is that it allows you to create a comic strip. Most of the other applications allow you to add comic touches to a single photograph, Strip Designer allows you to use a series of photographs, comicfy them, add captions, speech balloons and then save it as an image, send via e-mail or send direct to Facebook or Flickr.

The interface is quite complicated with various menus and sub menus.

However it doesn’t take long to see that the reason for this is the variety of effects and adjustments you can make to the images, text, balloons and captions.

This is a finished strip. Click the image to see the full size version.

Overall the app works very well, but as with any comic app, the key is the thought and planning that goes into the comic design process and writing before you even open the app. That is something to consider if you want your learners to create a comic as part of a learning activity.