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Xtranormal Text-to-Movie

What it is:  Xtranormal Text-to-Movie is another outstanding site that I learned about from @danreeve on Twitter.  This site lets students create and direct their own animated movies.  Students can choose a set, actors, and music for their videos.  Xtranormal allows students a huge amount of control of exactly how their movie will look, they can choose camera angles, animations, expressions, looks, points, and sounds.  The site is very intuative and user friendly for students in third grade (with a little guidance) and up.  I was able to create a movie without reading any instructions in about 5 min. How to integrate Xtranormal into the classroom:  Xtranormal is a great way for students to express what they know creatively.  Students can use Xtranormal to create mocumentaries on any subject, students could interview historical figures, report on geographical occurances, or create public service announcements.  Xtranormal would be an excellent alternative to the traditional book report.  Students could interview one or several characters from the book or create a little review show about the book.  The Xtranormal interface is intuative enough that the focus will be on the learning, not on the tool.   Tips:  Xtranormal is a great way for students to create movies.  Many times schools are restricted from putting videos featuring students online, this is a great way for students to put their creations online without their actual picture being out there.   Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Xtranormal in your classroom.

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Piktochart: Create your own infographics

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Art, Create, Evaluate, Geography, Government, History, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Technology, web tools, Websites | Posted on 09-10-2012

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What it is:  Piktochart is a great web app that makes it easy to create your own infographics.  Piktochart has free and premium options.  With the free version, there are a handful of themes to choose from.  Premium themes are also available, if you are so inclined.  After you choose a theme, the next job is to change the mood and edit the information on the chart.  Students can add shapes, graphics (uploaded), theme graphics, and text to the infographic.  Students can add a chart where they manually input data or upload a cvc file.  This is especially helpful if they have been data collecting in another program.   There are some features that are only available to pro users.  Not to worry, there are enough available for free that you can make a pretty rockin’ infographic that gets the point (or data) across.

How to integrate Piktochart into the classroom: Piktochart is a superb way for students to work on those statistics/probability standards.  Being a visual learner myself, I love the way that infographics seem to make data easier to digest.  Piktochart can be used to display any type of statistical or mathematical data in new ways.  Students can show what they are learning in history, about the world population (miniature earth), science, in the book they are reading, geography statistics, etc.

The way that infographics allow students to blend learning across the subject areas is fantastic.  It isn’t just math; it is math, and art, and science/social studies/history/geography/technology.  Any time we can help students recognize the overlaps that exist in learning and subject area, it is a win!

A few weeks ago, students at Anastasis discovered that America’s biggest export is trash. They started digging and found statistics about the amount of trash Americans throw away each day (7lbs/person) and how much was recycled vs. what ended up in a landfill.  They also looked at statistics of what receiving countries like China and India did with the waste being imported.  It was fascinating!  Students created infographics showing what they had discovered in their research.  It was eye-opening when they translated that trash per person into a year’s worth of trash and figured out how many football stadiums that it would fill.  When they could see it graphically, it had an impact on their thinking.  The result was: “it is up to us to change this…”

Pretty amazing when the conclusion to learning is transformation…change.

Tips: In the free version:  Basic themes, 5 image uploads, Piktochart’s watermark. Pro version ($29.00/mo): 80 themes (and growing), additional customization, more image uploads, no watermark.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Piktochart in your classroom.

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