Last week I attended the Innovative Learning Conference (ILC) in San Jose, California. Despite what seemed like a very light turnout, it turned out to be a great conference experience. The educators attending ILC were engaging and it gave me a chance to meet up with some of my social networking pals in real life. I also had the opportunity to see some really good presentations.
Like most conferences there was an exhibition hall with lots of vendors touting their goods and services as the latest and greatest learning tool. All the usual ed tech suspects, with their big marketing machines, were there in force.
But what really intrigued me the most was a couple from Vancouver, B.C who have created a mind blowing, game changing and all around awesome web-based comic strip generation tool called Pixton.
What is Pixton?
Simply stated, Pixton is a social community where anyone can easily create, share, remix and publish their comic strip stories with people around the globe. If you find a great comic in French, you can instantly translate it into English. Or German. Or even Greek. Pretty cool, eh?
There are three versions: Pixton for Fun (public), Pixton for Schools (education) and Pixton Storyboard (private).
Pixton for Schools provides students with an active and fun learning experience. It's also a good way for teachers to tap into the multiple learning styles of their students. Teachers can also create accounts for students without requiring them to have an email address. Pixton is also an amazing digital tool for students to create digital storytelling projects.
In terms of the educational value of comics, the Pixton team emphasizes the following:
- Pathway to Literacy: Instantly capture students' attention and motivate them to learn, using a familiar medium they understand.
- Collaboration: Foster peer-to-peer interaction between students. Or between students and teachers.
- Visual Learning: Reinforce your lesson through the associative power of words and images.
In terms of teaching, Pixton for Schools has a Lesson Bank where educators can share their lessons with other teachers. Teachers can also create their own private, safe and secure virtual learning environment (VLE) right on Pixton! Beyond the classroom, Pixton would be a great way to quickly and easily build professional development, training, tutorials or other pre or in-service materials.
You can learn more about the how you can use Pixton in an educational setting or the educational value of comics by downloading the free Pixton for Schools information packet (pdf).
The Pixton tool set is very intuitive, easy-to-use, and really fun. If you browse the public gallery, you'll see all the creative ways people are using Pixton and your mind will quickly overflow with ideas.
There are lots of ways for you to share what you create with others outside the Pixton community. You can embed your Pixton comic in a wiki (like PBwiki), blog, or share a link via email, Twitter or IM. And soon you'll be able to print out your comic too.
Clive and Daina Goodinson have created powerful and fun learning tool that is bound to be a popular and powerful learning tool for the digital and traditional classroom. All in all, Pixton is an exciting edition to the social web.
Following in the footsteps of Flickr, YouTube and Twitter, Pixton is poised to join the short list of cutting-edge, top-tier and truly innovative social web tools. The really exciting thing is that Clive and Daina are just getting started. I can't wait to see what else they have planned for Pixton and beyond.