imagesI 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 XtraNormal .  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.High_res_logo_notag_nomouse

The problem is now solved.  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 Vyond (formerly GoAnimate) .  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.

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Jeffrey Tron
I graduated from the University of Southern Indiana in 1993. I got my masters degree in education in 1999 from Indiana Wesleyan University. I taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade at Helfrich Park STEM Academy for 17 years. While there, I was the technology coordinator, student council rep, book coordinator, and I ran the announcements on the television studio. I taught reading, English, mathematics, social studies, science, and health in all three grade levels. In the summer of 2010, I worked for the IDOE to help implement the Indiana Science Initiative. I led several workshops around the state helping teachers integrate notebooking and hands-on science kits in their classrooms. During the 2010-2011 school year, I taught fourth grade science at Fairlawn Elementary School. I am currently an eLearning Coach for an elementary school, two middle schools, and a high school. I love technology and I love teaching and helping teachers. Put the two together and you have my dream job. I am very excited about being an eLearning coach and helping others implement technology into their daily instruction.


    • Hi Stephanie,

      There is a sign up for free button. Once you have signed up and are signed in, don’t click on the business section at the top. Scroll down below and there are several free options at GoAnimate.

      Regarding your other comment, I heard that xtranormal no longer exists. That is probably why you are getting the bogus site.

      Thank you!

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