Friday, April 20, 2012

D-LIT: Comics, Superheroes, and the Arts

Source: ASIDE, 6th Grader
It's been a while since we wrote about D-LIT. Essentially, it is design, literacy, information, and technology used together to create a product that reflects the learning. We have used D-LIT with Storybird, Voicethread, and Voki in our classrooms with lots of success. The projects range in duration and complexity, but sometimes it is the simple integration of technology that adds to the fabric of a lesson. One of our favorite D-LIT assignments is the collaborative project between the LibTech and performing arts classes.

In the project, students design visualizations of superpowers using the Marvel comics website to produce superheroes based on characters they create in their drama classes.

Source: Marvel
Marvel allows kids to create their own superheroes with its avatar creator. Students can choose from three body types, mix and match costumes, and customize faces, hair and other features. Of course, this website could be fun just to play around with, and many of our students continue to use it on their own.

Source: ASIDE, 6th Grader
The drama teacher clearly works with the students to fully develop their characters and their special powers through acting. From this point, their charge is to imagine what their superhero would look like and to create a visual representation. Connecting it to curricular learning changes the dynamic, and the outcome for each student is different.

The freedom given to our students to use their creativity and think carefully about how they wanted to portray their superhero was striking. It never ceased to surprise us how selective the students were in making images of their ideas. When they were given the opportunity to design the look and feel of their superheroes based on their ideas, it was amazing how their personal qualities seemed to penetrate the final design. The lack of restrictions enabled them to let their interpretation grow.

Source: ASIDE, 6th Grader
Free choice and decision-making let the students engage in the assignment with a sense of openness to create likenesses for their characters that they would not necessarily otherwise portray.

Kids identify with superheroes in much the same way we did when we were their age. While it is not necessarily "academic," the creativity, imagination, and choice benefit each student's learning.

Other resources for students and teachers: Superhero Mathematics 101 from Visual News; UGO Entertainment

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