Sunday, July 26, 2009

Comic Life - Software Review

Fiona Grant from the MOEs Software for Learning encouraged me to write a few reviews about software we use in early childhood education. There was little doubt in my mind about which piece of software to begin my reviews.

Comic Life has been an exciting addition to the curriculum at Manaia Kindergarten. This is a software package that appeals to teachers, children and parents alike. In addition it is equally usable on both Mac and PC (though marginally faster on a Mac!).

Although Comic Life is set up to provide tools for the creation of comic strips and pages, it is quite versatile for a variety of uses.

The teachers of Manaia Kindergarten use Comic Life to write children's Learning Stories. Stories about children's learning experiences had previously be written in MS Word. We found Comic Life provided a platform to easily mix pictures and text in creative formats.

Text boxes can be placed anywhere on the page. Text headings come in all shapes and sizes. You can choose from pre-determined styles or manipulate the shape, colour, or outline of headings. When using a Mac - Comic Life provides some text formatting options.

Picture boxes can easily sit next to text. Neither moves unless you click and drag them to the desired position. A small image library window remains open with your image thumbnails. It is easy to click and drag your images from the window into your picture box. They automatically resize to fit the window. It is also easy to crop images by clicking and dragging the boundaries of the picture or the box. Picture boxes come in a range of style shapes which can be manipulated individually along with the frame, if desired.

Speech bubbles are the cornerstone of Comic Life. At Manaia Kindergarten, we use speech bubbles to type children's words and correspond them with particular images. You can see an example of Speech Bubbles in use in a recent story about our trip to the Fire Station.

Blog your learning stories easily from Comic Life. Each page can be saved as an image (jpg) and uploaded onto a website or blog.

• Bling - pages can be beautifully coloured with preset backgrounds or manipulate easily to create your own. Check out some on Manaia Kindergarten blog

• Children - the Comic Life interface makes it easy for children to create their own pages and make their own choices about images, colour, heading styles etc. Children at Manaia Kindergarten see Comic Life as an opportunity to take charge of the mouse, click to make their choices, and have direct input into writing their own learning stories. Check out Sari's story about Poi meeting her friends at home.

Purchase Comic Life - its not expensive
Comic Life is a creation of Plasq. They have a variety of Comic Life options. We use the regular Comic Life option at Manaia Kindergarten. You may also be able to purchase a bulk license to cover a number of computers and computer platforms in your Early Childhood centre. Comic Life Download Link.

PS: I am not paid by the manufacturers of Comic Life for this review - though I probably should be lol!


Tracy said...

Thanks for the link to Comic Life. I just got the trial version and have been playing around with it, having a lot of fun. I'm a big fan of using comics in the classroom, and this program is getting me even more excited about September. I've also found some great resources at that have helped me incorporate comics into my lessons. Thanks again for the link!

Treehouse Dwellers said...

Great, I look forward to hearing what the children do with this in your classroom.

Lindsey said...

After looking at the post, I might try the Comic life. Sent you a facebook request too.

SteveMc said...

I have been using a program similar to Comic Life for the past few years to make our class newsletters. The students (3-6 years of age) enjoy both helping to make the comics and looking at them afterwords. I print each comic out and place them together in a book.
I will be switching the Comic Life software since the other comic software I was using, mycomicbookcreator is no longer supported.
It is great to hear of other early years teachers using comics.

Adrienne Moyle said...

Hi Beverly,

I would like to make contact with you for an interview about your blog network.

It is for a course I am studying in online community.

Could you email me?

Thankyou, Adrienne

Janine and Hannah said...

HI Beverly great review, again I am sahring it with colleagues in the ECE ICT PL Cluster. Yesterday I had a phone call with Innes who distributes the Comic Life licenses in New Zealand. He tells me New Zealnd is the ONLY country where Teachers are using this programme with children so young as he nagged Comic Life to be able to do so. He is interested in exemplars of Teachers using Comic Life in ECE. Carlyle Kindergarten has peer-tutors 'techies' who use two eBooks to scaffold Teahcers. Relievers and friends to use the programme independently, we will be presenting on this at ULearn. The presentation is called Two kindergartens, two stories of multi-literacy with children and families.
The children made an 'advanced comic life' book of 'how to's and are needing another now- how amazing :)

Treehouse Dwellers said...

Hi Janine, Thanks for your comment and for sharing the post - that's what it is all about and great to see that happening. Awesome to hear that connection with Inns/Comic Life and advocating for ECE. We have some small movies of our ECE children using Comic life independantly to create their stories about Poi and Ekko. I am sorry I haven't booked to go to the Two Kindergartens (it was on my short list)... will have to have another look now that you have personally recommended it. I would be interested to the the HOW TO's books. Can't wait for ULearn09 - always inspiring.

teamoreview said...

This is a very good software,thanks for share it's a great article...

Leslie said...

It sounds like a great resource that we will check out in our team, thanks for the review.