A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that XTRANORMAL is a safe, creative site that helps turn stories into high-quality animated movies. Teens and tweens can bring their own dialogue to life by choosing and customizing characters, voices, expressions, movements, and text to create short, animated movies about any topic. Once a movie is complete and rendered, it can be shared via social media channels or linked to in emails, blogs, etc. The opportunities for creativity are endless, but the free version has limitations and users are encouraged to purchase additional Xtranormal Points in order to access more "actors," sets, backgrounds, and other premium features.
What's it about?
Xtranormal is an engaging interactive tool that helps kids (or their parents!) create mini movies by choosing animated actors and then plugging in dialogue to tell a story. Create the environment, type in text, select specific facial expressions and movements, and the site magically transforms your directions into a cool clip to keep and share. Xtranormal creations are everywhere online, from viral comedy clips to corporate training videos to educational lessons. Although you can try it for free, the more you spend on extra features, the more creative you can be.
Is it any good?
Not everyone has the talent for a career in animation, but Xtranormal makes it possible for anyone to create animated stories. It's easy to get drawn into the creative process because the tools are so simple to use and the end result -- the mini animated movie -- is so well done and fun to watch. The text-to-movie technology and drag-and-drop functions make it simple to customize a scene, give personality to the characters, and create conversations between the animated "actors," who can range from superheroes or stick figures to crash test dummies or zombies. A variety of voices, accents, and languages lets you pick how a character speaks, but once the dialogue is stitched together, there's still a slightly robotic cadence to the conversation. Kids, parents, and educators will find much to love and create here. But there are challenges -- such as stepping away from the screen and not spending more money on the extremely appealing animation extras.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how digital technology can be used to create forms of self expression.
Talk about being responsible for how digital creations are shared and how anything created and put into the digital world can ultimately be captured, seen, or sent around by anyone.
Talk about what is and is not appropriate when creating digital content from scratch. What should kids be cautious about, especially when their creations will be shared with others?
For kids who love creating
Our editors recommend
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