Shannon Powell, CRWP 2009, and teacher at Central Montcalm Middle School has found a way to breathe new life into classroom projects using a creative technology called Bitstrips for Schools. The online software acts as an innovative and user-friendly program that allows students to develop and publish their own unique webcomics.
For Powell, Bitstrips offers students the attraction of playing while working. Many of her most reluctant writers found an opportunity for success using the creative medium of the webcomic.
“My students are addicted to this program,” confesses Powell. “I could hardly keep them off it, and they were happy to have new assignments and complete them so they could share with the rest of the classes. Having a purpose in playing really kept them interested in what they were doing.”
Powell’s success with the program was featured in a recent article on Bitstrips for School’s own blog. Excited by the work her students produced for such projects as a Favorite Books gallery, she encouraged colleagues to try webcomics in their own classrooms, many of whom soon had their own success stories to share.
Powell notes the interdisciplinary aspect Bitstrips has to offer when she recalls, “One of our social studies teachers wanted to use the program to make brochures for other countries her students were studying, and math or science concepts could easily be explained through comics as well.”
Formed in 2008, Bitstrips has formed a partnership with the National Writing Project, and is currently available for free download through August 31st to NWP teachers.