Review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated July 2012
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Strip Designer

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Easy and fun way to create personalized, comic-book-style stories

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Teachers say (2 Reviews)
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Grades
4-8 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Oodles of customization options empower kids to play with color, font size, stickers, words, and more.

Cons: Kids may not discover all options or may get overwhelmed by them; a video tutorial or in-app prompts would help.

Bottom Line: Strip Designer is a versatile media-creation tool that can support a range of learning goals for any subject of interest.

Teachers who have reluctant writers in their classrooms may especially love Strip Designer, which allows kids to endlessly experiment with visual elements and just a little (or, if desired, a lot of) written text. Kids could use this in class to interpret a required reading assignment, to document a field trip, or to create an original story.  Teachers may want to assign one page per group to help kids collaborate on a class-wide project. For younger students learning about onomatopoeia, teachers may want to use Strip Designer's stickers and caption bubbles ("POW!" and "WOW!") to bring sounds to the images.

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Strip Designer lets kids use their photos and drawings to design comic-strip-style story pages in a visually creative way and share them with others. If you have students who aren't into traditional storytelling or who have trouble writing in expressive language, Strip Designer may be just what the writing coach ordered to get them excited about storytelling.

You get more than 10 strip templates, balloon-style captions, and 150 flippable stickers, as well as many fonts and colors for drawing on the photos (or drawing a standalone picture) and adding text. Students can produce comic strips -- focusing on fictional topics, or real-life topics with photos of themselves -- to share with others via social networks or to print a book. Students simply tap "new" on the main screen to create a comic page. Then they start compiling photos, words, drawings, and stickers.

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There's no end to the visually cool, attention-grabbing stories kids can tell using Strip Designer. With a little work and a lot of imagination, a few pictures, stickers, and a text bubble or two, this app may be worth 1,000 words. The option icons are relatively self-explanatory, but tweaking the size and spots of the photos, frames, text bubbles, and more may still be frustrating for new or younger users, decreasing engagement. There's a basic tutorial and FAQ under the app's Help tab, but a video tutorial would be nice. Each page saves on a main My Comics page, and it's as easy as tapping Share to send a comic page via email, Facebook, Twitter, or via a PDF file and more.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Most kids love retelling personal events and seeing themselves in pictures. The comic-book-style format of Strip Designer makes these experiences all the more engaging.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Kids learn how to create their own comic-book pages by selecting the story they want to tell, the photos they want to use, and the design of each page. They can also collaborate with others.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

The Getting Started tutorial takes users step by step through the process, but with many examples. It doesn't display a completed page at the end of instruction. A video tutorial would be a great addition.


Common Sense Reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Summer M. , Other
Other
4
Engaging presentation app...comic style!

What fun! If you like Comic Life, this app is very similar. It is a fun and engaging way for students to share what they have learned. It is easy to use, offers plenty of different design options and makes sharing the final presentation simple.

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