- Teacher Susan McLuckie uses comics in assignments to further engage her middle school geography classes at Toby Farms Intermediate School in Brookhaven, Pennsylvania, finding any student, no matter their ability, can take part in creating illustrated stories to explain a concept, she writes for eSchoolNews.
- McLuckie started using comics in assignments when she was a 6th-grade teacher, asking them to draw characters on sheets with four blank panels. She eventually had pupils add dialogue to the comics and was able to integrate the approach into subjects across her curriculum from social studies to math.
- Since the pandemic, McLuckie shifted comic creation online, first having students produce them using Google Slides before settling on Pixton EDU, an app for digital comic book creation. She finds while the online space has confined what some students may create, she also believes they’re able to build their comics more quickly. She plans to use both digital and hand-drawn comic creation in her classes when in-person learning resumes.
Educators have long tapped into popular culture and other mediums that hold students’ interest as a way to enhance learning across the curriculum. By using these options and integrating them into lesson plans, teachers can better engage students in the subject they’re studying in the classroom.
Comics and graphic novels are certainly popular with a wide group of students, as the topics themselves can range from superheroes to history. But educators have also turned to other media to tap into popular culture in the classroom, whether that’s using beatboxing to teach students about financial literacy, tying today’s slang into the study of ancient languages, or adopting popular TV shows and blockbuster films and franchises as windows through which to view curricular topics.
Educators have also allowed students to create their own forms of media for projects, giving them some control and ownership in their own learning. This has included having students write their own video game, or assigning a class a project encouraging them to create their own music videos reflecting the subject they’re studying in class.
Giving students the choice to select an individual project’s medium can also have a positive impact as well. Research has shown allowing classes to select their own method of demonstrating how they’ve mastered a subject can increase students' feelings of satisfaction in a subject, and in the material overall.