A Review of Xtranormal

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.


4 Responses to “A Review of Xtranormal”

  1. Krista Rue Says:

    I think that this is a really cool tool. I also think that this would be good for those students who are shy or don’t ever talk in class. It would give them a voice and give the teacher a better understanding of the knowledge that student has. How long does it take to create such an animation? I also like the idea of using this tool for meetings with other educators. I cannot tell you how many boring meetings that could be spiced up just a bit by something like Xtranormal. I can really see how this tool can bring new life into the classroom. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Stephanie Says:


    Thanks for this incredible site. I plan on presenting it to our drama/music department at next month’s team meeting. For our drama classes, we always have students acting out stories in class for their peers to see. This is another way that we can have them “acting” out their stories for the class.

    An even better way to use this is for some of our special needs students. I’m thinking specifically of several selective mute students I’ve taught in the past. They were more than willing to find a way to participate in the drama activities, but were extremely limited in being able to show their creativity by their voice. Having a program like this that allows them to type in their text provides a way for these students to showcase their imagination right along with everyone else. I know several teachers are still struggling with ways to correctly assess these types of students, and this seems to be one possible answer. Thank you!

  3. Matt Says:

    That’s pretty cool. I may try to use them to give spelling tests now and then. I’ll have to check the pronunciation of the words, but that would be pretty cool. Even if it was embedded on the class blog so students could practice the words.

    That is a fun way to bring a story to life. How long would it take to do a short story, do you think?

    I’ll have to get an account and try this out. Morning announcements, directions that get repeated the same each time, the possibilities are endless. Did you say that the movies can be downloaded? That would be nice to be able to use them as stand alone videos. If they are flash, they might be able to be downloaded through zamzar or keepvid.

  4. krisolvo Says:

    I don’t think you can download the movies, but they can definitely be embedded. I tried downloading the premium version, State, but haven’t had a chance to play with it.

    The nice thing about these movies is that they can take a little or a lot of time to create, depending on how in depth you go with the animations. It would really depend on what your instructional goal is. For example, you can use one camera angle the entire time and that would be a simple project, especially if the student had all of their content in already. But a group could work on getting the gestures and facial expressions. The example one I made took about 10 minutes.

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