Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Supporting reflection for learning through photo-stories

As a learning tool, photo-stories can be selected to create a narrative or snapshot of a concept, experiment, or similar to indicate a level of understanding, draw out results, major findings etc. The following is a suggested lesson outline that describes and introduces a comic-style photo-story and how it may be used in a secondary class activity. Supporting technology can include ComicLife – see later section.

Photo-story Précis Primer

What is Science?
• Science is a story that we tell each other about how the world we live in works.
• The story is based on what we have collectively seen or measured about the world.
• The story is not finished, we are constantly finding ways to improve the process of science and making new discoveries.
• When communicating science there are many different ways we can do this. What ways can you think of? (Television documentaries, books, radio programmes, You tube, new scientist magazine, talks, science festivals, doing and recording experiments…)

What are Comics / Photo-stories?
• Comics are a medium for telling a story that combines both words and pictures.
• Comics are “sequential art” - to read the story multiple panels are “read” in sequence.
• Much of their communication goes on “between” panels
◦ The reader’s brain automatically fills in what has happened in the gap.

What are Comics Good For?
• Comics can be used to quickly tell a story (they can be read more quickly than text on its own).
• Comics are often used when working out how best to tell a story since they are easy to edit
◦ You can quickly add or remove panels, or rearrange the order that panels are placed in.
◦ You can add narration if the panels miss important stages in the process being conveyed
◦ You may have seen “storyboards” for TV shows or films before they have been shot.
• Comics can be used to tell any story - including the truth and evidence base of science reporting by communicating science work or concepts to others, helping others understand what was done in an experiment to give them enough knowledge to repeat what was done reliably.

Today's workshop will focus on using sequential art to précis a story – that is, using a comic to simplify a story by stripping out some of the less important details. The session is split into two halves. The first half introduces the cartoon précis with a humorous example story, the second half develops the skills with the creation of a science based narrative.

[Example from Scott McCloud]

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