Electronic Comics

Age Range: 7 - 11

For this activity, you will need:

A PC with a scanner, a microphone and some multimedia software (e.g Powerpoint).

Instructions:

1) Arrange the class into small groups (with approx 2/3 children in each group). Each group will be making an electronic comic. This is a comic strip, which is shown on the computer, and which has sound effects which play when the appropriate pages are shown.

2) The children can use a well-known comic strip (e.g. Dennis the Menace, Peanuts), or (even better) they could make a comic strip of their own for the purposes of this activity.

3) The children in each group should scan the boxes of the comic strip into the computer, using the scanner. Each box of the comic strip should be saved as a different picture.

4) When this is done, they will need to make some sound effects to go along with the pictures. These should include speech shown in speech bubbles in the comic strip and any sound effects which are shown (e.g. BANG, CRASH, WOOF - you may be able to download sound effects from the internet). The children will need to record their sound (preferably in a quiet room) using the computer's microphone. The sound effects for each box of the comic strip should be recorded and saved separately.

5) Now, open the multimedia authoring software, and import the pictures you have made. Each picture should be shown on a separate page, and you should also add the appropriate sound effects to each page.

6) Remember to link the pages together in the correct order. The children will need to decide whether they want the user to move between pages by clicking on an icon, or whether the pages "turn" automatically.

7) When all of the groups have made their electronic comics, they could be copied to each computer in the school, for other children to see. You could even make the electronic comics in a web-page creation program, and upload the comics to the internet.

Variation - make an Interactive Comic:

In this version, the comic will have a number of points at which the user will decide what will happen to the character in the story. By clicking on an icon, they will decide the fate of the characters, and ultimately, the ending of the story.

Obviously, this Interactive Comic will require a lot of preparation and planning. Work as a class to make the start of the story, and then split the class into groups, with each group working on one possible ending.

For an example, of an interative comic (although there is no sound), check out www.beano.co.uk.

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