Xtranormal activity II: the kids

Xtranormal is an online animation generator, developed and based in Montreal. In his demonstration, Paul Nightingale describes xtranormal as a product “…with which you can turn text into movies, simply and quickly” (2008). He goes on to explain ways in which the full application can be used, such as creating video blogs, sending invitations, designing avatars, and making business presentations. (I recorded a sound byte from the demo to share here, and exported as an mp3 file as well as a wav file, but I seem to be unable to upload it on WordPress, due to “security reasons”. I continue to be confounded by technological limitations!)

For our purposes, my grade 9-10 students used the free version to bringto life a part of the French children’s books with which they are working. The kids had SUCH a blast working with the program. Some found it difficult to access the site upon returning the second day, as they received messages alerting them to “activate their account”. They could not, however, locate the necessary email messages to do so. I am uncertain whether this was because of a spam-blocker at the Division level, or whether they entered in their school email addresses incorrectly. For some, it seemed to work without a hitch.

Another limitation, as I had warned them, was that one is only allowed 300 xp (xtranormal points) to use for free. These are spent when one
selects characters and certain sets for the film. A few students found it frustrating that they could not use their ideal choices, but there were many
to choose from.

Personally, I enjoyed the fact that the students had to be very careful with spelling when writing the text, in order to generate an accurate depiction of the dialogue they were representing. There were a few interesting glitches in the application which sometimes resulted in characters saying things like “e accent aigu” instead of pronouncing the letter. The students found ways around those issues, however.

The students created some wonderful videos, which we shared in “musical chairs” fashion, where they move form station to station, to watch each other’s videos. They are having great fun sharing their work and watching their peers’ creations.

Reference

Easy animation with xtranormal [Video file]. (2008). Retrieved from http://www.pcworld.com/article/157382/easy_animation_with_xtranormal.html.

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