I am always looking for great web 2.0 tools. I like to have a good 10 tools on hand all of the time. I want them to be user and teacher friendly and most of all, free. As teachers, we are on a tight budget and really do not have a lot of time to learn a new tool that is difficult to use.
One tool that I introduced to my teachers last year was http://www.xtranormal.com/ . XtraNormal is a digital entertainment site that produces do-it-yourself animation software for the web and desktop. It turns words from a script into an animated movie using text-to-speech and animation technologies. It allows users to create videos by choosing from a menu of predesigned characters and sets, and scripting their own dialogue.
It was great. Teachers used it to introduce lessons and students used it to create projects. I specifically remember a health teacher that had her students create a short video where one character in the mini movie convinced the other character that using drugs was a bad idea and gave good reasons why. The students were engaged and really got into it.
Just recently, I realized that XtraNormal is now charging after your first video creation. I guess all good things must come to an end. Now, it is still a great tool and the prices that they are charging isn’t going to kill anyone’s pocket book, but it makes it difficult for a classroom of students to use it.
The problem is now solved. I was reading from The Journal, a digital newsletter put out by FETC. I found from the Tech Smackdown, there is another tool that does pretty much the same thing that is totally free. From what I have found, there is not a limit to how many videos you can make. There is a limit to how long it can be and some downloading options, but it does not limit you to one video. The site is called goanimiate. The link is http://goanimate.com/ . I made my first video yesterday. It is very easy to use and I think runs even smoother than XtraNormal.
So if you have been looking for a great XtraNormal replacement, look no further. Check out goanimate. I think you are going to like it.