Super Stories: Comics and Digital Storytelling

by Tim Cushman

Comics and education?  Can their be a more juxtaposed pairing?  The idea of using comics to teach is inconceivable for many like me who spent tedious hours in the elementary classroom listening to a lecture on this historical character or that scientific principle while nervously eying my best friend the next row over as he drew the story playing out  in his head.  Inevitably, he would be caught and would face the full ire of a peeved teacher.  The fact is, telling a good story is a very difficult thing to do.  I don’t mean telling a story that simply entertains (although there is a place for that).  Rather, using storytelling, and in this case comics, as a means to communicate a powerful idea in a concise way.

The standard needs to be set high.  I like to make the comparison to Hollywood films.  A good movie that tells a powerful story in a powerful way wins an Oscar.  Movies that may enjoy a certain amount of the mainstream spotlight and are in some way sensational may generate revenue but do not necessarily reflect good storytelling.  We need to get our students to produce “Oscar-worthy” digital stories.  This is very difficult and requires a great deal of thought and creativity.  The challenge to be creative and innovative is what our students need.  Jobs requiring knowledge are outsourced.  Jobs requiring innovation and cooperation within a diverse community never will be.  This is the future we are preparing them for.  Enough pontificating from my soap box… offers a new take on digital storytelling by turning your digital photos into a comic-style format.  The effect is appealing.  All you need is a digital camera for taking pictures of the “characters” in the comic.  Comeeko will add the unique comic-styling.  What could you do with Comeeko?