Comics are visual nuggets complemented at times with some text. Whether in single frame or a long series, the best of comics can draw the viewer in, bring about clarity and pack a punch .
There are the regular cartoons and strips in newspapers and magazines, superhero comic books and Japanese manga. Not forgetting the European ones like the Tin Tin and Asterix series. Online, there are many sites with comics and cartoons too.
Many teachers have used them in teaching though most likely in an ad hoc manner. The reading of comics and cartoons as part of learning is still somewhat controversial.
With technology, students can now more easily create their own comics. This is an interesting way to engage the learners.
Pixton is a website to explore for this purpose. In fact, it has a section specially dedicated to educators and in it, you can even find suggestions of how the creation of comics can be used for learning. The suggestions are for a wide variety of subject areas and this, as well as other parts of the site, can even be viewed in different languages including Chinese.
There is a good range of templates and characters to choose from to get started and the characters can be posed and speech bubbles added with ease.
In a recent eLearning sessions, students were directed to this site to create their own comics. Without too much instructions from the teachers, the students were able to create their first comic strip. These were posted for the teachers and classmates to view and leave comments.
The ability to create Pixton comics on the iPad is probably in the pipeline.
The Storyboards app on the iPad shares some similar functions.