Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Learning English with Pictures and Stories -- Bubblr

Bubblr is an interesting and free website you can create and share your original comic strips, and possibly realize your childhood dream of being a comic strips writer!

  •   How does it work?

There is a search engine for the users to search for the potential images they like. It can be done either by searching the key words or the owner of the images.

                                                                                    The search engine

 Right away, the search results will pop up in the upper part of the web page. The image storage is rather large, thus very possibly you can get thousands of optional images.
                                                      An example of research results
Then, you can choose any pictures you like, drag and drop it into the 'comic strips' template. And you can add a couple of pictures more as you like. 
                                                    An example of choosing images

Now it's time for you to write the story you want to share! You can choose a shape of bubble and put it wherever you like on the pictures, followed by typing a few words describing it. Once you finish editing, you can publish the work, and share it with anyone you like by sending their the published link via email, or clicking the SHARE button to shere it on the Facebook, Blogger, and so forth.

An example of adding words to the pictures

  • The reasons for using Bubblr
1) Task design
The teachers can use Bubblr to design a speaking task easily within one minute, such as story-telling.

2) It can involve the peer collaboration and competition
The students can be arranged into pairs or small groups to create their own story. They should discuss and decide the story topic, negotiate, compromise, insist, agree or disagree with each other, which can improve their cooperative spirit and interpersonal skills as well as the speaking ability.

From the whole class perspective, the activity could be developed into a little competition. The students can vote for their favorite stories created by their peer students.

3) Motivation
It is undoutedly much more appealing  to students to have colorful images in their class.

Also, as long as the students are producing something interesting and creative by themselves, they will feel the stuff they are engaged with is meaningful rather than dull and meaningless.

Besides, it also adds to the students' learning motivation that they can share, appreciate and evaluate their piece of work online with their friends, teachers and peer students.

                    Just click the SHARE button, you will find several ways to share your fantastic piece of work with others
  • Limitations?
 The way of using the Bubblr is quite limited: either the teachers produce the comic strips and arrange the students to tell the stories, or the students create their own ones.

Additionally, if the students want to talk about their own pictures, it is not so convenient, since the images in this website is sponsored by the photo sharing website – Flickr. (

There is also a danger of the content of the images. The teachers should be careful about the drug, pornographic, violence elements when they are dealing with teenagers or young learners.

  • Suggestions for teachers 
The teachers are advised to use the Bubblr in speaking class. 

They can produce the comic strips in advance and arrange the students to do the story-telling activities, or it is also interesting to arrange a story-prediction activity.  

OR the teachers can devide the students into pairs or small groups (if the class size is bigger) and let them to create their own stories.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for good review. I will try for my guessing story class.