I’ve heard about xtranormal.com a few years ago and tried it out. I have to say that students enjoyed using it and watching some movies from the site. Mostly they enjoy using it because it’s easy to use and straightforward with the tools it gives you (animations, expressions, looks, sounds, etc.).
I enjoyed using it because it really gets the creativity of students working. It can bring them together while working on a project and it can teach them many important skills they definitely will need in their future jobs, such as teamwork or target-oriented interaction when working on a project.
Here are video tutorials on how to start using xtranormal.com and some tips on how to use it:
How to start
How to create
How to save
How to preview
Inside the classroom
- you could prepare a movie on the topic of your lesson and use it as a lead in.
- you could make a movie only by adding expressions or animations to it and let the students add the dialogues to the movie. They watch the movie created by you and discuss what the actors might say.
- if your class is equipped with at least one computer for a student, you can ask them to work together in groups or pairs and create a story, a dialogue focusing on different points, such as: small talk, turn taking, debates, agreeing and disagreeing, giving advice, etc.
- you can ask them to create dialogues for different books. If you give your students some books to read then ask them to retell the story of the book in the form of a movie with dialogues. Students will practise their summarizing skills in this activity.
- tell them to choose a famous historical conversation(you can look for some before the activity and give them some support by giving them some examples) and role play it with two actors in xtranormal. The conversation should give the public the feeling that it’s really similar to the original one (they could watch some on youtube before engaging into the activity)
Outside the classroom
- ask your students create a feedback movie on the lesson. They could give you feedback in the form of a conversation. They could try to predict what your reactions to their feedback would be and then give them feedback whether they got it right or not.
- you could ask them to create a movie on a certain topic you would like to discuss the next lesson. Let’s say you want to talk about ‘Generation gap’. Ask your students to use their creativity and create a movie based on the topic. Award them for the movie closest to the topic.
- ask them to work in groups and create a movie made up of at least 2 or 3 parts. You can extend this to a short TV Series with students giving them a title and subtitles to all of the episodes. They could create a TV Series based on their classmates and their weekly learning experience (they could create an episode every week or maybe twice a week). This really strengthens their abilities to interact and to work in teams making decisions together for the project. In the end, after finishing the TV Series, they could share their experience with the others on how they managed to work together and how difficult or easy it was working in teams on a long-term project.