Xtranormal allows people to create short animated movies by typing text or uploading audio into the program to tell a story. This first thing you do is choose your background and your characters. Then you get to direct these animated characters by choosing the camera angle, the actions, and even the expressions of the characters. As you enter the dialogue of the story, the characters act out what You, as the director, tell them to. You then can upload your movie into a collection of movies and others can comment on and rate them as they see fit. You can also remix the work of others. This feature allows you to open the project in a version that breaks the movie into parts and you can change any part that you would like and make it your own.
Check out mine!
Many people use this for entertainment purposes. However, many that I have looked at are used in an educational site. I really like this site, however, it is not always kid appropriate but it does have a content rating guide.
Besides this warning, I think this site can be used in so many different ways in K-12 education. A few examples I can think of are:
1. news report of current events
2. personal narrative acted out by the characters
3. an explanation of a science project, step by step
4. a hook into a real-world math problem
5. a response to a reading
Really, the possibilities are endless, but I would use this as an authentic writing experience. The students can use this as an avenue for publishing their writing. This would be a great opportunity to not only share writing because of the multimedia aspect, but also because the story is typed in and the avatars read the text, it is a great editing tool!
One of the best parts of this site is the fact that it can grab your attention. It could be used as a way for teachers to give eachother teaching tips or to add some humor in a faculty meeting. But I wouldn’t use this as an extensive Professional Development type of tool because it would take a lot of time to convey a small amount of information.
One of the scenes/character sets you can use is the presidents. I would love to use this to have a group of students write a biography for the president and have the avatar presidents teach each other about what they did in their term of office or what the duties of the president are. This would be appropriate for the fourth grade study of three branches of government.