Chelsi's Educational Musings

Xtranormal

Posted on: November 20, 2011

I have been working on my Summary of Learning today, and after playing with several of the Web 2.0 digital storytelling tools, I decided to use xtranormal.  Xtranormal is a movie maker where you can create your own animated movie and have the characters say your text.  I wanted my Summary of Learning to be told like a story, and this seemed to be the best media through which to share my summary.  I think that I was also inclined to use the program because as a child, my brother and I had a movie maker program on our computer that reminds me a lot of this site.  It was a lot of fun, but not nearly as simple as xtranormal was to use.

While working with xtranormal, I discovered a few pros and cons.

Pros:
– Quite easy to use.
– Several characters to choose from.
– The characters can ‘do’ several different actions.
– The drag and drop process by which you place the action command right into the text was simple.
– Simply type your text into the window, and the characters say what you want them to say.

Cons:
– The site is free for a 14 day trial, but I had to pay for an account in order to access more options.  It was only $10, so I think it was a good deal.
– The characters are static and do not walk around.
– You cannot make more than one scene in a movie without upgrading to a higher account.  This is what I found most frustrating.  I had to make four mini-movies that I will show in order for my presentation.  I wish that they could have a fade-out in between each one so that the scenes changed.  In my program as a kid, I was able to do this.
– The computerized voices are not too bad, but I wish that I could record audio right into the program.  However, it is kind of cool having them speak in their monotone way haha.
– In order to preview the movie to see how it looked, it took quite a long time to load each time I wanted to see how my changes worked.

All in all, I think that this storytelling tool has been a creative way to share my Summary of Learning.  Now, my only problem – it is nine minutes long! :S  I have some serious editing to do!

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8 Responses to "Xtranormal"

Can’t wait to see your summary Chelsi. Xtranormal sounds like a fun tool.

Thank you! It was fun to use the program! I just cannot edit it down enough. I have such a problem with being concise lol!

That seems really fun! I am trying the tikatok website because I also love the idea of storytelling but it also has its pros and cons. It is so great to hear first-hand about a website before you try it and I am going to try yours for fun even after class is over!

I checked out tikatok and thought that it looked like a good site. I look forward to seeing your finished result!

Thanks for the summary. This has recently changed, and xtranormal used to be free (with multiple scenes). Even at $10, many teachers won’t be using it because of the cost – it just happens that way.

Oh well – thanks for the update. I knew it had changed, but didn’t know the specifics.

Yeah, it’s too bad that the site charges now. It’s actually $10 per MONTH, and in order to have multiple student accounts, you have to purchase those too. It’s a shame, as I think my students would love to work with the site. There is a free 14 day trial, but if I had chosen to use that, it doesn’t allow you to publish a movie, so it wouldn’t have worked for my project.

Hey at least you put in the old college try and completed something new and unique to summarize your learning. That certainly fits with the spirit and intent of this class. So, kudos to you and your creativity. It will be fascinating I am sure.

So much for being Xtranormal and not charging, sounds like they have returned to normal. (o:

Hahaha yeah, normal at best now!

Thanks a lot, Allan! I look forward to seeing what you’ve created, too!

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