XtraNormal is a very engaging Web 2.0 application where you can type dialogue and instructions, and the website converts them into animated figures moving and talking to each other. XtraNormal allows you to choose from many different languages (making it great for ESL teachers), and it includes different cameras to capture different angles when your characters are speaking to each other.
Once you have created your movie, you can take the embed code from the website and publish your movie to YouTube (and then download it), TeacherTube, your blog, Facebook or any other website.
Below is an excellent PPT which gives simple instructions for creating a movie with XtraNormal:
This video by Nik Peachey also explains how to create an XtraNormal text to speech movie:
Nik goes on to list in his blog post some ideas for how Xtranormal can be used in the clsssroom. He also lists the good points about it:
- “It’s free (at the moment) and it’s quick and easy to use?
- It’s a way of giving students a ‘finished product’ to showcase the language they are learning.
- It’s entertaining and creative.
- It’s a very flexible and adaptable tool and could be used by students (over 13 years old) or by you to create materials for your students. You could use it to create materials for young learners through to business courses.
- It’s a way of getting students to listen and to write.”
and the bad:
- “I’m not sure how long it will be free. There are signs that the owners intend to start charging, though no signs of how much or whether there would still b a free option.
- Some of the voices that create the speech from the text don’t always sound 100% real, though in cartoon type animation I think this is reasonably acceptable.
- Not everyone using the site is doing so for educational purposes; some of the animations that are already there could be inappropriate for younger learners or offensive to older ones.”
Be aware that a lot of the XtraNormal movies in YouTube are inappropriate in content – if you are looking for some for ideas, try searching TeacherTube instead.
This video was created by a teacher to show how Twitter can be used in education:
The following videos were created by Yr 5 students learning about the human body: