Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pixton vs. Storyboard That

Today I'm linking up with Technology Tailgate for Techie Tuesday Link Up!

Early in the school year, my students read Lois Lowry's The Giver and created a graphic novel depicting The Hero's Journey. When I first started teaching this unit a few years ago, my students drew their own graphic novels. Oh the complaints! "This isn't an art class!" "I'm not a good drawer!" Even though I reassured them that the content of what they wrote was more important than the quality of their pictures.
Since my district's push is with technology, a teacher friend of mine introduced me to Pixton. She was using it with her kids and they were able to focus more on what the point of this unit was- depicting The Hero's Journey and visualizing. I used Pixton and had pretty good success with it. There were some frustrations, however. After the unit this year, I discovered Storyboard That. It's extremely similar to Pixton.
Let's compare the two!

The learning curve with Pixton comes when you actually go to create the comic. There are so many features including facial expressions and posing of your characters that students can get really bogged down in choosing just the right positioning. The good news is that Pixton has videos that are only about 30 seconds long that are How To videos. My students (8th graders) watched them and were able to quickly figure out how to pose their characters, choose colors, backgrounds, and resize what needed sizing.
Pixton creation

Storyboard That

Storyboard That has the same basic functions of Pixton. I haven't used it with my students this year since I found it after the unit I usually use Pixton with, but I have an idea for using it soon.
Teachers have a dashboard, students use an activation code to join the teacher's class, etc.
Storyboard That doesn't have the same learning curve that Pixton does. The characters and backgrounds can be colored, but there isn't the posing and moving challenges that Pixton has. The characters are pretty stationary in the poses. Storyboard That also provides help for the user. Instead of videos they're still screenshots. Storyboard That works on tablets too! This is huge for my district since next year, our students will be given Dell tablets and will no longer have netbooks.

Created in Storyboard That

Pixton allows the teacher to create a classroom, assign assignments for students to create, create rubrics to grade students, and share with one another privately. Another feature of Pixton is that students can work on their comics together (if working in partners) or alone. I discovered this feature this year when my students worked in pairs with their graphic novels. Students sign up with an activation code or the teacher can enter names. In a 1:1 it takes no time at all to get everyone going.

Pixton isn't free. Depending on the number of accounts you pay for will depend on how much it will cost you. Here in the screenshot you can see for 50 accounts and for 2 months it would cost $42.

Storyboard That isn't free either. The pricing is a little better though!

I'm definitely interested in giving Storyboard That a try. They provide lesson plans to use and webinars and events on technology in the classroom for teachers. I think Storyboard That might be the way to go for me!
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