Review by Sandy Wisneski, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2019

Comic Life

Creative tool for visual storytelling through comics

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Arts
  • English Language Arts

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Creativity
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
3–12
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Teachers say (15 Reviews)
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5 images

Pros: Offers a creative outlet to demonstrate concepts in all content areas.

Cons: Lacks some features for classroom use; kids may spend too much time playing with the program and not completing a project.

Bottom Line: Comic Life helps students apply their understanding with a creative approach, but guidelines are needed to ensure success.

Teachers can use the Comic Life application to help kids develop skills in storytelling, writing, vocabulary, reading skills, and self-expression. In addition to language arts, templates cover other content such as science and social studies; historical events can be sequenced visually, and scientific processes can be demonstrated through images. The templates are easy to personalize and challenge students to demonstrate their understanding visually in a creative format. Examples of finished projects could include steps in a science experiment or report, examples of character traits with trading cards, or a graphic novel about a social issue. While Comic Life is great for demonstrating knowledge of information, teachers who are looking for more classroom-ready features might want to also consider Pixton

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Comic Life provides students with an easy way to demonstrate learning through comic design, with customizable options and predesigned templates. Students can use many types of images -- either stock art, pictures they've drawn (using other programs), image files stored on a computer's hard drive, or even snapshots from a computer's webcam. The program is intuitive, but a help pop-up is available with additional information.

The robust drag-and-drop editor allows students to add filters to images while adjusting the style/size of the text. Word bubbles can be added for a creative element to each frame. Final projects can be saved in an image format or a PDF and work with Google Drive.  

The Comic Life application is a great way for students to create their own comics and graphic novel-style narratives. The library of templates is versatile and can help students design projects sequencing images and text to retell a story or demonstrate an understanding of learned materials. A handy script editor offers students a way to develop and brainstorm ideas prior to creating the visual product. Text can easily be dragged from the editor onto the comic area. Comic Life will help budding artists work on the design, layout, and other visual literacy techniques. Students will also learn presentation skills, and they'll become more aware of their audience as they write and create comic-like projects.

Students will need guidance and specifics when using the program (such as limiting their project to two template options) so that time isn't wasted trying to decide on a beginning template. Also, classroom-ready features are missing, including assignment creation, embedded rubrics, and peer feedback and collaboration. 

Overall Rating

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

The tool is easy to use and provides control in the design process; students will enjoy creating a visual representation of concepts learned in class.

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

Comic Life has tools to create an environment for meaningful, kid-directed learning. The program allows students to apply learned concepts visually.

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

An interactive comic is available that offers a step-by-step guide to creation. As part of the final process, students need to save a document and share it as a PDF with others.


Common Sense Reviewer
Sandy Wisneski Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 15 reviews) (15 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Jonathan G. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Canadian International School
Singapore, Singapore
Creative, simple and fun for students.
In my opinion, this is a terrific app to introduce students on how easy it is to use technology to create something useful and graphic. The students are having fun using the technology and the teacher receives an end product that displays their understanding of what they have learned about the subject. I will use this again in the future for other subject areas. One area that could be improved is the number of options for editing or templates available. I am going to attempt having the students try to ...
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