Looking beyond the funny pictures: how comic creation can develop educators’ digital competence

Image: Jean-Philippe Delberghe / Unsplash.com

EdComix is an Erasmus+ project that provides comic creation resources for teachers, particularly focused on inclusive comics for English lessons.

The project proposes to support the development of teachers’ digital skill set in four ways:

1. Using and creating digital resources

Several digital comic creation tools exist for non-illustration professionals, such as BDnF, Canva and Pixton. EdComix also offers a digital comic creation guide, an e-learning module for English teachers, and lesson and comic packages (coming autumn 2021). Teachers can try their hand at digital storytelling by practising storyboarding and digital content creation, and discovering graphic design.

2. Creating inclusive material

Digital content is considered inclusive if its design and delivery respect cultural diversity and expression, and if they take into account the specific needs of disadvantaged groups. This can be achieved if teachers use different types of comics, from European and American comics to manga, to allow learners to observe their differences and commonalities, and to capture learners’ various interests. EdComix also contains guidelines on general adaptations for students with Specific Learning Disorders (SLD), who may find comics more difficult to read.

3. Promoting the collaborative and autonomous use of technology

According to the EU’s DigCompEdu framework, a digitally competent teacher can enhance collaborative and self-regulated learning. Digital comic creation can foster collaboration by allocating learners different roles (such as plot writer, script editor, font expert, illustrator, storyboarder, colourist).

4. Supporting distance and digital learning

A recent European Parliament-led study reports that the lack of personal contact has decreased students’ motivation for learning. It recommends creating more “resilient and engaging” distance-learning mechanisms and integrating more practical “skill-based” exercises, for instance through storytelling and arts. Digital comic creation can actively involve students, as well as allowing teachers to put newly acquired digital skills into practice.

Bojana Vulicevic is pursuing her Master’s degree in International Relations at the University of Ljubljana. She has worked as an ESL teacher and currently works in education innovation at LogoPsyCom.