Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 23 - Xtranormal







Watch the video below for information about Xtranormal.






Register for an Xtranormal account. http://www.xtranormal.com/
Click the Sign Up link located in the upper right corner of the site.
Fill in the account information and complete the caption box as accurately as possible. Finish with selecting the button that says Create Account. Next, you will be greeted by a screen that indicates that your registration was successful. To create a video, continue by clicking the link CONTINUE TO MOVIE MAKER.



Creating a movie is simple. Select a character and a background for your movie. Select the Story tab to open the menu to begin your character's dialog. Type the text for your movie and drag and drop icons (red bracket area) onto the text to change camera angels, create character movements, gestures, pauses, etc.




The website allows you to preview and save your project prior to publishing your movie. Once you select publish, the website will provide you with a share link address and also an embed code.



Your assignment for today: Create an Xtranormal account. Post two specific ways you could use Xtranormal in your classroom.

Note* The Xtranormal site is restricted for users 13 and older.


35 comments:

  1. Hi, I'm a student at Harrison High School and I have used Xtranormal to make an incredible informational animation video for a community school. It is a great site to use

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  2. I could see this being used to recreate scenes from historical events or novels in modern day language. Students could demonstrate their understandings from those pieces. Since I work with elementary students, I initially thought this would be great for retelling, because we are always asking students to retell the most important details. Asking them to make a movie out of the most important details requires students to write, but it also includes the visual aspect. At first I was disappointed by the 13+ age requirement, but when I started to play around on the site, I realized why that requirement is in place. Some of the material is a bit inappropriate for younger audiences.

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  3. I have used Xtranormal to have students make a video about cyberbullying. Here is the link to one of the videos: http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/5768889/dangers-of-sexting-protector-of-the-sextor

    I think that you can use Xtranormal to talk about anything that the students might be embarrassed to talk about since it is not their voices or faces. Videos can be shown to the class anonymously.

    I could also see using Xtranormal to talk about lab safety in chemistry class. There is a background that has to do with a lab and you can make the characters act however you like. Either I could make the video or I could have each student make one about a specific incident that could happen in the lab, i.e. a spill, a breakage, a fire.

    The videos come out very funny in most cases. I highly recommend having students type their script in word first. Some students had problems with the videos during the finishing process and had to start over. Having the script typed in a word document made it much easier to redo.

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  4. I wish there was a way to import your own music! I'm glad there are a few choices available, even if the selection is limited. I could use this in a lesson about movie soundtracks to have students explore how changing the background music changes the entire mood of the story. I could assign each student a piece of background music and have them create a script, character, background, and movements to go with it.

    I could also have my students use this to create their reflections about their composition project. I usually have them write a paragraph explaining their process and why they made the choices they did in their compositions. This would be a fun alternative to that, and they could embed it in their digital portfolio on the same page as the mp3 of their composition.

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  5. Websites like this are really good in that they provide an alternative assessment for my students. Instead of writing and giving a grade based on their writing ability, the students have a creative outlet for their thoughts in a fun and non-threatening way.

    The assignment that I envision would start with the traditional reading assignment, like a short story. Then the students will set up their Xtranormal to share with their audience what they they got out of the story. The students could create an interview between characters or they could, with some creativity and timing, could carry on a conversation with the character on screen.

    The evaluation of my students' work would be two-fold. Obviously, the product would be part of the grade, but the main focus would be the information provided, like the plot summary or character analysis.

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  6. I second what Molly said. I don't have any on hand to show, but it is a fun way to let kids be creative or share their thoughts without the embarrassment of speaking in front of a group of of asking a question. I also find that they are hilarious because of the writing kids use and the monotone it is read in.

    I like the idea of using them for lab safety...I hadn't thought of that one. I assigned a project that asked kids to explain a macromolecule (sugar, protein, etc) and some kids did Xtranormal videos that talked about their compound. The content was great and they had a ton of fun putting the dialogue together.

    As far as application in the class, I would offer this as an option any time you do something where kids have a chance to be creative. Re-writes are a great way to pull this in. But again, do be aware that not all content is suitable, so be careful about what age group you encourage to sign up for an account.

    Another thing to be aware of is that some features ask you to pay, so there are times you'll be limited in what you can do.

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  7. I've been using Xtranormal for quite some time now. I've not used it as an in class project or assignment yet. However, I do have a few ideas in mind!

    1. To practice typing skills in Japanese, students could create a video of the dialogues from each lesson in our book. Alternatively, students could write their own dialogue for each lesson and create an animation for it.
    2. I usually have students write skits a few times each year, instead of asking them to create a video or comic, they could use Xtranormal.
    3. For review, students could create animations to explain grammar patterns that were previously taught.
    4. Students could create videos to demonstrate knowledge of cultural norms in America and Japan.

    Also, if you end up loving Xtranormal, check out their downloadable editor called State.

    Here's a link to one of my videos:
    http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7889125/self-intro

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  8. I had never heard of Xtranomal before, but it is one of my favorite tools posted so far. The possibilities for this are endless. I could see my students using Xtranormal to recreate scenes from plays that we are reading either directly from the script or modernized.
    This would also be a great way for my students to create public announcements. I am planning a issue awareness unit for the second semester and this would be a great piece. The students could use the tool to create the public announcement that they write for their chosen issue.

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  9. I have seen XtraNormal videos before but have never thought to apply it to a classroom. One way I could use it would be to start class with a video telling the class the agenda for the day. It would give me time to take attendance and would be entertaining for the students.
    Another way to use it would be with middle or high school students to create a video book for younger students. The students could write the story in collaboration with a younger student, then create the movie of the story they created together. The older students would get to use technology and the younger students would get to see their stories come to life.
    This is a lot of fun to play with. I'm sure as I create more, I'll get more ideas.

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  10. Wow, it is great to see so many people already using this and to get their ideas. I could see myself using this as an assessment tool to give students a different outlet to share their what they've learned in class. For instance, it would be great to have students create one of these for digital citizenship. They could almost become like a PSA where students are teaching other students about a lesson or topic.

    Once again, this site looks like a good way to create a digital mind map of a character. They can bring the character to life through the character, text, and background. My only concern about this site is the age requirement. Since I teach only up to 6th grade, technically, none of my students would be able to use it.

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  11. I really like the idea of using it to start class while I take attendance. It could be used to deliver a bell ringer or assignments at the end of class so I could get to students that I need to talk to.
    I also like the idea to have the students make skits for projects. I can incorporate this into my commercial project for my general music classes.

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  12. As a coach I would like to use this in my presentations. It can be a way to show good and bad examples of strategies and ideas without singling out individuals.

    I can also see using this as the start of a PD session as an hook for the presentation or as a way to give directions to the group instead of a typical powerpoint slide.

    I use examples of technology or strategies with adults in training so they can see it in action and then apply those strategies in their classrooms. Often they focus more on the technology than the strategy but either are learning tools they can use.

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  13. This seems like a really fun tool! I can see using this in my classroom to give the agenda for the day. I can see using this sometimes to have my students create a problem and then show how to solve it using this program. I could also use this for my vocabulary. As a project one day, I could have my students explain what a word is and then make up a short story using that word and other vocab words too.

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  14. I only have 4th grade so this one would be out as far as having the kids use. I do like the ideas that have been posted for student use. I like the idea of using for bell ringers. I think it would be cool to introduce story characters to my class. Maybe not give away all of the character traits and have them write in their novel notebooks other character traits that I left out. We do a ton of IN history stuff in 4th and I think it would be neat to make one of these to introduce the topic of the day for IN history using a character from IN history. I think to introduce any number of ideas or concepts would be a great use of this. Kids will be more apt to listen to a character like this than us at times!

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  15. Over all, this looks like a useful program. I was thinking I could use it for a rhythm review or a warm-up for music class, but it doesn't seem to have much inflection on the typing dialogue. You can record, though, so I was able to add my voice to the characters. One thing, I don't like about it, though is that you have to use points for the actors and sets, and buy more or earn more if you need more points. This is a free program, but to be truly free, for teachers, we need to not have to pay to keep using it! But it's fun, and animation definitely gets the kid's attention. Would also use for a class demo in my room, since my kids are younger.

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  16. I like the idea of using a video skit to get students' attention if I am giving them a multi-step task to complete. This way, if they forget or failed to listen, the video can be replayed by them instead of me repeating myself. I also like the idea of using this as a reward tool...positive feedback for the students who are doing things well. An end-of-the-week wrap up that drops names of students and their accomplishments for all to view would be neat for the students.

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  17. Younger students couldn't make their own creations, but it is so simple and quick that it would be easy for the teacher to create a variety of activities for students: 1)The movie could present a math story problem (it would be great to have to this type of activity to help with transitioning or as a bellringer) 2) It would be easy to use a movie to present a quiz to students (professional learning community practices emphasize lots of formative assessment ) 3) it would be great for instruction in and the practice of listening comprehension (a precursor comprehension skill for very young students is to be able to repeat or summarize a sentence or paragraph.)

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  18. I have had 2 students use this during interpreting graphs in algebra. The students were given a graph and had to explain the "story" behind the data. Both girls did an exceptional job, one did hers as a game show and the other did hers as a newscast. Both were very detailed and creative.

    This site also helps the shy person "present" in front of teh other 34 students.

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  19. Here is my link to the video I have created with Xtranormal.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boT_nO1E2Zc

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  20. @t.baker... Thank you for sharing your comments and video. The video was very informative! It is great to see student input on the blog!

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  21. As Toray stated, this provided us with a different way to present information to the school we were working with. It was interactive and fun for the students and allowed for a wider audience to view without tying it directly to my students' info.

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  22. This seems like it would be a fun way to give instructions to class, to introduce a project, or to tell students a lab procedure. Students could write their own lab procedure, and make it into a video using xtranormal.

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  23. I just created an account. Two ways to use it: first students who are new Language Learners can type in text in English (or other target language), and gain proficiency by hearing the text taught back to them, and practicing what they hear. It is a little choppy, but it might make other projects more fun and accessible. The second way I can see using it is to use it much like Voki in a flipped classroom. Instead of a talking avatar, you might record a short lesson introduction for the class and uploaded to a class site or netbooks, and students would have to watch at home and come back the next day to practice the skill.

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  24. i just thought of another way to use it: to create scenarios (either for students or teachers-or both) on various classroom incidents involving various types of behaviors/interactions and talk about how to react appropriately in the situation. It could open up great conversation on triggers and self-management, and since it is sort of acted out for you, no one has to volunteer, and they can be saved to use on an ongoing basis to open up group dialogues

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  25. Ok. Last time, I promise! Here is the movie I just made. I am going to send it to every human being I have ever met! LOL. Here is the link: http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/12748354/watercoolerchat-building-cultural-understanding?page=1

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  26. I would use this in class to help perk up an otherwise boring topic. Usually students are more likely to pay attention when there is something fun to look at. I could use this to have students make presentations to use for future classes. The students love to show their creativity and this would be a great way to express themselves without needing the ability to draw.

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  27. Oh my gosh! I totally love this tool now! I just used it to create a scenario for digital citizenship with students. It was quick and easy to use. I can see teachers using this as a way to help students learn. However, I can also see students making videos as a way to enhance learning. The thought processes that you must go through to establish the conversation are much higher than simply recalling facts. How exciting! I can't wait to see how others are going to use this!

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  28. There are definitely a lot of ideas of how to use this tool in the classroom. I think it could be a tool used to explain the expectations of a project/assignment in a more interesting way with one animation asking the frequently asked questions and the other responding. It could also be used with pairs of students where each student takes turn typing in their response in solving a problem or doing some type of Rally Robin activity.

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  29. This could be a neat way to intoduce class and/or end class. Students could create a video about what they think class is going to be about or what they have learned. Also, you could have students debate about certain issues such as genetically modifed foods etc.

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  30. Very cool! I would use this much like I would use the avatar from Vocci to mix things up. This would also make a great summarizing video for a larger unit or lesson before a test. It would make an interesting review.

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  31. t.baker- what a great idea for a parent volunteer video! My mind is spinning with ideas of how to use these videos for parent involvement. Maybe even using videos in a parent resource center on a computer. How to help a child with homework or problems, etc. Thanks for the ideas! :)

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  32. What a neat tool. I like the idea of creating one of these to introduce lab safety. Have half the class create proper lab procedures and the other half create videos of improper lab procedures.
    What about that time of year that I always lose my voice. :) I could use this to introduce a lesson in a fun way!

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  33. Xtranormal is hilarious. My kids will love it. Again, this would be a great presentation tool.

    My kids are going to read mystery novels when we return from Christmas break. They could have a lot of fun using Xtranormal to create summaries of their book. They could plot out a scene from the book to entice other kids to want to read it.

    They can also use it during our Japanese PBL unit. They can have the characters teach about culture, language, locations, travel destinations, etc. This is a tool that can make their work more engaging.

    My kids could also use this tool when they create book trailers. We have used Photostory to do this in the past. They might enjoy another way to complete this project.

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  34. I think this would be a great tool when I am going to be absent. I don't remember seeing how long of a video you can make, but I'm sure a series of them could go a long way with keeping the students engaged throughout the day. I created one already that I could use as an introduction to the day and the classroom that could benefit the students and the sub both. I could add to it, explaining the location of certain things around the room that may be needed. Unfortunately, with my students being under 13, they would not be able to use these. A second way I could use these is to have them create a walkthrough on computers in a lab or netbook cart on how to use or open a certain program or site that is needed for numerous students but possibly at different times. Acuity, MyOn Reader, and Apangea Math are a few that come to mind. This could cut down on repeated directions, and lets face it, be more enjoyable for the students.

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  35. Another good tool to use with students. I could ask a student who is chronically late to create a movie depicting how a typical morning in their house might go to find out what might need to be worked on to help them become more organized.
    I might also ask them to role play with one of these movies how they think a discussion may go with their parents, something they are anxious about discussing. I could also ask the parents to do the same thing and then have them view each others movies. Interesting!

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