It's important to tie the technology to the objective in class, because the objective is the skill students should leave the class with. By viewing tech as a skill that is important to the learning instead of an add-on or fun thing at the end, we will be using the technology efficiently and effectively. I am reminded of the video we watched from Alan November where the teacher was teaching Macbeth. The students thought the video was really fun and they left with recalling how fun the video was to make, not any deep understanding of Macbeth or how writing can be used effectively in real life.
Teachers and students think in terms of points and grades. We can't help it; it's a large part of school. Anything important should have a point value showing it's importance. If the tech part is a throw away grade where each student gets a 100 for participation, it is not deemed important by the students. The power of using technology though is that the students will want to do it. They enjoy novelty of course, but they really enjoy and buy into doing things they deem important. Being able to function is a technology rich environment is crucial. When I've taught lessons on how Google learns a user's behaviors and keeps different points of view from a user after a while, students felt it was important. They felt empowered. Being able to do this makes the point value almost unimportant and the skill paramount. Being help accountable means they are learning and they are rewarded for learning what's important.
bubbl.us is a great tool where kids can do their thinking online. They can work in pairs or in small groups to create a map for writing a paper or creating a story. By using this tool, students can manage prewriting for an online story of some sort. Once they get to the drafting portion, they could use the ipad - one of the animation apps (Toontastic is the best of the free apps) or iMovie to publish their story in a visual format. There are also web programs to publish cartoons, so students could create on the Netbooks as well with Flixtime, Goanimate, dvolver, or Disney's Comic Creator.
Students could use different apps and programs to create their stories. So, they are responsible for prewriting, then a more static comic strip version, then a moving version either live action or animated. The students would have to re-think their story is different ways for different mediums.
Some ipad apps that are very good, but not free are Animation Studio for $2.99 (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id362956988) and Animation Desk for $4.99 (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id409124087)
And as I suggested with Xtranormal. This type of activity isn't relegated to creative writing. News programs and documentaries use analytical or persuasive scripts to create a visual. There are even journalists who report through the comic book/graphic novel format, such as Joe Sacco and Guy Delisle.