The educational website tool that I will present today is called Toondoo. This website is designed to the creation of comic strips. The website offers a free version, which is very nice and which has a lot of options. The tools are easy to use. If you are a teacher and you feel the need to show a video on how to use Toondoo to your students, there are videos on Youtube.
You can create your character or choose some already created. Here is an example of a short comic I did using the basic tools of Toondoo:
Toondoo would suit students of all age. With the younger ones, I would recommend using the options already available; the older could work on creating characters and doing more complex stories. What is nice about that tool is that you can share it with the public, with people you know or you can keep it to yourself. So, if teachers would want their students to do a project, they could all only share it with the teacher. Then, the teacher can present the projects to the class, print them and do a book story or just keep them to themselves and evaluate these projects. An example of a project an ESL teacher could ask his or her students to do could be to reinvent a famous tale like Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland. The students could work in teams of four and do a 8-strip story. Then, the teacher could print the students’ work and put them in a binder; it would be interesting for students to see their classmates’ stories. While doing the projects, students will feel like they are playing and having fun which they will, but the project will also help them to develop their social skills, to practice to write stories in a logical way, to learn how to cooperate, and to practice their English.
On ToondooGuide, it is written that ‘’ Illustrations can be used to get students attention and increase their emotional interest in a topic.’’
A project was conducted in a university by students in a class where they had to learn about special teaching method. For this project, they had to use Toondoo. The goal was to be able to understand behaviorist, cognitive and constructivist learning theories. The students worked in teams of four. After the project, some students were interviewed on their feelings about the project and the use of Toondoo, a student said ‘’the time I spend in this process was amusing and merry. I think it is an effective practice for a permanent learning.’’
There are some people who had problems with Toondoo, some said that the paid version was not really well-organised and that sometimes, they had to pay twice. Others said that the content on the popular page can be inappropriate for students, which is true.
TeachersFirst mentioned ‘’Potential safety concerns: If you are having students create their own TOONDOOS, you will want to prohibit their accessing the links to « popular » TOONDOOS and others available to the public, since the site is open for anyone’s idea of « funny » content. Our editors did not see anything objectionable, but you never know.’’
I personally enjoyed discovering that website and I would be willing to have my students work with it. The free version does not seem like a dangerous place, I would not allow my students to go on the popular page; it would also not be very interesting for them anyway since most of the comics are in a foreign language. It’s a good tool that would make me (as a teacher) and my students happy.