Amanda is a Health and Human Development and Physical Education teacher at Warrandyte High School. At the commencement of this project, she was preparing for the Year 11 Health and Human Development topic of childhood development. The key knowledge and skills, which were the focus of Amanda’s lesson, can be seen in her lesson plan. To assist with teaching and learning, Amanda used the software Comic Life. Comic Life is available to all government school secondary teachers through the eduSTAR software program: https://www.edustar.vic.gov.au/catalogue
Amanda’s learning intention was for her students to identify the key characteristics of physical, social, emotional and intellectual development of children aged 0-12 years by creating a visual representation in comic strip form with Comic Life. Prior to this lesson her students had completed a table outlining the characteristics of development during childhood. As Amanda had not used Comic Life before, she spent one to two hours preparing for her lesson, including exploring the functionality of the software and creating her own example. Amanda spent the first 15 minutes of the lesson explaining the task, and demonstrating via a projector, how to use the basic functionality of Comic Life. These functionalities included importing and editing pictures, adding headings, borders and colours and inserting different text. She encouraged students, who had used Comic Life previously, to share their tips and to assist other students as well.
This task allowed students to demonstrate their knowledge of the developmental sequence during childhood, by highlighting key developmental milestones in a concise and precise format. Amanda found that her students were initially resistant to the task as it was new and seemed difficult, however, once students got over asking ‘why are we doing this?’, they all worked well. Amanda notes that ‘more of the higher achieving students were able to really excel and be quite comprehensive but the students who don’t do much work were able to present a comic that covered the information that they needed.’ The comics also served as a valuable revision tool, especially for those with comprehensive information. Throughout this pilot project Amanda has been a teacher and learner on several levels. She has learned how to use digital technologies and shared this knowledge with her students to assist them with their learning and revision of childhood development. Amanda has also shared her experiences and skills with colleagues by delivering a presentation about Comic Life at a staff meeting.
Amanda intends to continue using Comic Life in her classes, including junior Health, such as when teaching the determinants of health for adults (VCE Health and Human Development Unit 2). She is also keen to explore other digital learning tools, such as Inspiration. ‘Now that I’m aware of a lot more programs, I’m definitely looking forward to getting involved and using it a bit more in my classes.’ Amanda commented that using Comic Life increased student focus on the task, it allowed students to work at their own pace and to have greater control over the task.
This was one of the most successful pieces I have handed out to the students because of the submissions I got back
'Everyone participated more with the Comic Life because it was something different'
Amanda provides tips in using Comic Life
Amanda shares with colleagues
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