Xtranormal Movie Maker
Location: Computer room
Language Focus: Any
Xtranormal is a text to speech movie maker that’s free and easy to join. It might be a bit heavy to run but it’s a definite hit with learners.
On the right here you can see a screen shot of the movie maker editor. The instructions are at the top followed by the set, actor, sound and story folders. The story folder is where all language production begins.
Simply click on an actor and start writing what you want them to say in the text box. Once you’ve finished switch to the next actor.
For fast finishers there are the effects running down the left hand side. Why not customize your movie to:
- Change the camera angle during shots.
- Get the actors to perform actions.
- Get the actors to point to objects.
- Get the actors to make some facial expressions.
. . . and more.
At any time you can hear how Xtranormal converts the text that has been written to speech. It may not be the most authentic sounding speech but it serves the purpose.
The free account is more limited than the options open to those that pay but the free account does offer a good range of sets, actors, sounds and stories. If you did decide to go pro and get the better upgraded options then its worth bearing in mind that learners on multiple computers can access, work and save on a single account – at least they can on the free one.
Why not watch an example of two actors discussing how an Xtranormal movie can be used with a class. That way you can judge for yourself if you think its worth turning your language learners into movie makers.
Level: I’ve used this site with language learners as young as 8 to adults. You just have to make sure the activity task is appropriate and to their level.
Language focus: The first time I use this with learners I generally just let them get on with it. As I monitor I’ll help on correction, input language and ask them about the direction they are moving in. Then, in later classes I like to return and get learners to open their movie projects and expand on the text using recent language we’ve covered in class. This generally means the final product contains a range and complexity of language that they can be proud of.
If learners feel inspired enough to start a new project this is also fine but I always encourage them to review some of the language we’ve done over the course and encourage them to recycle it.
Have fun and maybe see your language learners at the oscars one day.