Chelsi's Educational Musings

Posts Tagged ‘xtranormal

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Writing an entry to “summarize” my learning for EC&I 831 does not seem adequate for this class.  I have learned so much in such a short period of time that it really WAS difficult to summarize my learning into a 5-7 minute project. (Thus, you will see that my project is 7:32.  Being concise is not my strongpoint!)  Moreover, I feel like a summary is often synonymous with a conclusion, and my learning stemming from this class is only just beginning.  I feel as though this class is a stepping stone to everything, technologically-based, that I am going to embark on.  I truly felt rhizomatic learning happening throughout this class, and that was something that I had not experienced within any class I had taken.  In my post about Dave Cormier’s presentation, I stated that rhizomatic learning “can move in multiple directions, and it is unpredictable.  It is open-ended, experiential-based, creative, and not based on memory, but on forming knowledge.  There is no curriculum because learning from EACH OTHER is the curriculum.”  How true that was for our class!  Our learning was not based on a prescribed curriculum, but it was because of each other and ourselves.  Never before have I taken a Masters class or undergrad class where I felt so motivated and compelled to learn, share, and grow than during this class.  I have been working on my Final Project since two weeks after this class began, and never was I thinking about the mark I would receive or if I had completed “enough” or “the right kind” of work.  I was compelled to create it for myself and others.  The process by which I created my website was challenging, but it forced me to learn for myself, and in that way, I have grown so much more.  I will be continuing to work on my website even when class is complete, and I think that that alone shows the importance of rhizomatic learning.  Alec stated in our last class that we should think about learning beyond our class and that we should learn for ourselves.  Thank you for motivating us to do so, Alec, and providing us with the tools to learn beyond the classroom.  I have enjoyed reading about others’ Final Projects and have witnessed many others creating projects that they will continue to use when class is complete, and that is testament to all that we have learned.

Although it is difficult to summarize my learning, as it is still ongoing, I CAN summarize my feelings about this class.  I have enjoyed it far more than any other class that I have taken.  I am constantly thinking about how I can utilize all of the new tools that we have been given.  I find myself very conscious of who I can share things with, and I am compelled to pass on what I learn to others to make THEIR lives more interesting and easier!  I have learned so much from everyone in the class.  Just today, I passed on Honni’s blog to our school’s kindergarten teacher who is attempting to use technology in her classroom.  I am going to have my students create Wordle posters thanks to Judy’s recent post.  I finally remembered the site that Alec recommended that allows you to caption your pictures, thanks to Katy, and I am now obsessed with picnik and used it to create the picture above.  I will now be showing my colleagues how to use picnik tomorrow!  All of that sharing was completed, and only in the course of a day!  I am even DREAMING about sharing!  Whenever school gets stressful, I have this reoccurring nightmare about tornados (and have had this dream since I was young.)  Last week, before conferences, I had the same dream.  However, when I saw the tornado approaching, I tweeted out a storm warning!  Sharing is now apart of my subconscious!

We still have two classes left, and I have no doubt that many of us will continue to follow each other’s blogs, so I will not say my goodbyes quite yet!  Instead, I will leave you with my Summary of Learning.  I apologize for it being 32 seconds too long!  😛  I honestly timed it when reading my ‘script’ aloud to make sure that it was within the time constraints.  However, I seriously underestimated the speed at which the characters speak!  I edited for, no word of a lie, two hours, and this is as short as I can get it, sorry!  I have three “deleted scenes” that didn’t even fit the cut…but I’ll save those for the DVD. 😛  I also was frustrated that I could not edit them into one movie with five different scenes.  Alas, I would have to pay even more than I already paid to use the account, and that just wasn’t in this teacher’s budget!  I then tried to upload all five to You Tube to create a playlist, but for some reason, the movies will NOT upload. I have tried for two days, searched many help boards for the past hour, changed my authorization several times, and still, nothing.  I tried to embed them into the blog, but that wouldn’t work either.  Then, I tried to download them to my computer to upload to a host site, but I couldn’t download them without paying to upgrade my account!  What a money-grab!  Finally, I decided to take a screen shot of each one and link to that, and it seems to have worked.  So without further ado…

My Summary of Learning, using xtranormal

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!