How to Use Xtranormal Animation Video in Teaching English-Part 1By
As a follow up to my earlier post about using Do It Yourself Animation when you teach English, in this post I wanted to explain what Xtranormal is and share with you some ideas on why I think this is a valid media tool for ESOL. In other posts, I’ll talk about how to introduce your students to this communication tool and about how to use it in an ESL/EFL class.
I have used Xtranormal.com “drag and drop 3D animation” with both young teens and young adults. The reaction of both age groups has been the same:
THEY LOVE IT!
On its website’s “Who we are“, Xtranormal.com presents its mission as bringing “movie-making to the people”. Their software is designed so that anyone who can type – can make one of their 3D animation films. “You type something, the “About us” page claims, “we turn it into a movie.”
But is it really that e-a-s-y???
Xtranormal.com appears to offer its 3D animation software FREE! You can either download their beta desk-top software onto your PC or use the online verison. As I clicked on the pages I kept looking for the catch – I felt there had to be one – how could a company offer such an intersting product for Free?
So far I haven’t found a catch, but do read well the Terms of Services, here it states clearly that children 13 and under can’t register to use Xtranormal; their parents need to register.
As for the ease of use of Xtranormal….? Yes, it is easy enough for a 10 year old to quickly learn to use it!
(Xtranormal.com recommends downloading to your PC the “STATE” edition of their software “to enjoy the full potential of Educational Showpaks”. However, first read Minimum Requirements under the Products – State button. “Drag and Drop Animation” needs a powerful computer. Therefore for this explanation I am going to follow the online process.)
But before I get into the How To of making a 3D animated film, let’s take a look at the Why of using this tool in teaching ESL or EFL.
- I found this software is great for motivation. Students of various ages got excited by the prospect of actually producing something they could show or send to family and friends.
- Xtranormal can be incorporated in any part of your lesson plan.
- Planned correctly, it can be used with individual students or with groups.
- It is a good review of spelling, sentence construction, question word order, reported speech and reported questions, natural conversational language – therefore, phrasal verbs and idioms, turn taking, dialogue development, etc.
- It can be a fun tool to practice functional language for presentations, testimonals, giving the news, giving a promotional plug for products or services (1 Actor), introductions, interviews, meetings, hosting a talk show, a sitcom (2 Actors)
- Besides typing the monologue or dialogue the students need to choose appropriate ambient noise, background music, expressions for their actors and camera movements or angles to match the dialogue. This helps students become aware of the role body language and sounds play in our conversations.
- These are just some of the language functions that come to mind, but as you use Xtranormal, share what you learn!
to be continued….