The picture cards have a special language, very similar to comics and have in common some of their own “linguistic characteristics”.
First of all they are expressed through the combination of texts and images. Secondly, they are a summary of expression both textual and of images. Thirdly, they are enclosed in an album that you can browse. The term “album” is also used to indicate a graphic novel, a comic story. Instead some differences arise in terms of narration. The picture cards represent a less structured narrative (in general), compared to a comic. However, both languages are confined to a narrative recount. The cards represent a concise narration, while the comic is usually a more relaxed narrative, almost a transition from narrative to summary. The picture cards (like the comic), also represent an historic moment in the development of a boy. If one does a short survey in a class, one will realize that all of them have to do with the pictures cards but only a lucky few have “completed the album.” The game related to the cards is, in fact, to complete the album by swapping the duplicate stickers with those missing and purchasing new packets.
Therefore it is a very well-known language, related to a game, that creates an expectation, useful as summary of expression, combining text and images and as a storytelling tool similar to a “storyboard”
Why not use it in the classroom? It is a tool that includes important features for learning.
These picture cards have been created with the students in class. Each day a specific subject was under discussion – especially through direct experience and specific sources, without ever using the textbook – and day by day the same topic was transformed into one or more picture cards of the album.
Each time one of the students wrote the text that was discussed in the class all together. This was an extraordinary learning exercise, not only for the “technology of materials”, but as a way of mastering a whole range of skills including language, logic, communication and composition.
“I never taught a lesson in its classic definition”, said the Technology teacher, but we adopted an ‘’active method’’.A method, where the students are themselves the main players of their learning.