Friday, November 19, 2010

Though I haven't used XtraNormal with my classes (yet!), I did make a video for our last class which, incase you want to watch again and again, I have posted here. Wow, that was a run on sentences wasn't it?

During our Alternate Resources unit in early March, we have our students advocate the use of one alternate energy source. In the past, I have used iMovie (mixed reviews), Powerpoint (they were junk), and a hand made, hand drawn brochure (the current medium, and least likely to end in yucky work.) This year, I am tempted to ask the students to make XtraNormal PSAs. Though early March is past the timeline of this class, I hope to have a student or two make a few of these for reviews for quizzes. If we do that, I'll of course post it here.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Web 2.0 Technologies

Hello All!
The first of a couple of Web 2.0 Technologies that I want to introduce you to is XtraNormal. You got a taste of XtraNormal with some projects in the final days of the last class. I think many of you would be surprised to see how easy and quick it is to create a short animated clip out of nothing besides text. In less than 10 minutes you could create a project to share with students.
This is a tool that could work well for students because there aren't a bunch of bells and whistles with the free starter version. There aren't many options to change and there aren't many options available with the free service. Visit to do a quick run through. Some pointers are below:

1. You choose one of 7 possible "themes" for your animated project. If you decide to change your theme later, this can be done effortlessly.

2. You have a choice of one or two "actors." These actors are robotic renditions of people, dogs, bears, office personnel, sketches, or for a little more money, celebrities and TV stars. Choosing one or two actors determines whether or not your project will be a monologue or a dialogue between two categories.

3. After choosing your theme and actors, all that's left to do is add your script. Just start typing in the textbox. When you want the other actor (if you chose two) to speak, hit the plus sign (+) and begin typing for the other actor. Go back and forth as much as you would like. As I have used the site, I have never noticed a limit to the amount of time your project can be.

4. Messing with the settings can take a bunch of time, but lucky for you, there's an autopilot method for camerawork. You can choose your camera angles or you can set it for auto and let the internet do your directing for you!

5. You can add music, special effects, and emotions to your characters. When you are done, play a preview for your project. Change the wording as necessary to make for smooth transitions in this text-to-speech world that you've just created.

6. Once complete, you can render your project and post it on youtube or leave it on the XtraNormal site for future viewing.

7. Enjoy!