When we think about online research and media skills our minds quickly turn to video production. Yet students and teachers can find video making and remixing a daunting task.

We need simple tools to scaffold video production. I like, many, mourned the demise of xtranormal. I found the text to movies tool so powerful for classroom use.

So I immediately began to look for alternatives. I came across Plotogan in my Twitter feed. Not only do I get all the functionality of text to movie tools but the program provides strong functionality and runs local on my mac (or your pc).

Classroom Uses

The possibilities are endless as students can recreate favorite scenes from literature, use as a journaling tool, or simply create online content.

When I consider possible connection to the Common Core State Standards I find once again endless options.

In the Reading anchor standards for the Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

In the Speaking and Listening anchor standards for Comprehension and Collaboration:

2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

3. Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

How Does it Work?

  1. Plotagon works as a script editor. You choose the scene and the character(s).

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2.You can  then choose the location of your character in that scene.

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3. You then type your dialogue. You can choose an emotion for your character.

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4. You can also choose to have your characters move around the scene.Screenshot 3:4:14 3:04 PM

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You can then add sounds. The sounds include both effects and music. Next you publish your movie by clicking share. If you connect your YouTube account you can upload directly. If your school does not allow YouTube access you can also upload the movie to Plotagon.

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That is it. Now you just wait, go make some popcorn and let the movie render. Plotagon will do the rest. When it is done you will get a notice.

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Embedded movie on Youtube:

Same movie on Plotagon:

Some Examples

This is a debate I had on the meaning of text as part of the #walkmyworld project:

This is a mini-lesson I made as part of my video tutorial series on Internet inquiry. I had to make separate movies in Plotagon. I then did a screencast on my iPad using Explain Everything. Finally I remixed the videos using Mozilla’s Popcorn maker.

There are many other great content related examples on the Plotagon Movie Page.

 Limitations

Plotagon is in very early Beta so many of these issues maybe addressed.

CPU Intensive

My macbook Pro just makes the minimum system requirements and it shows. When Plotagon is open I cannot do much else. You should plan accordingly and close unnecessary programs.

Few Scenes

I am sure more scenes will be added. Especially to the store. As of now the scenes available do not always fit an academic setting. I have spoken to the developers and they will make a push for education. So I am sure we will see schools, classrooms, offices, and parks in the future.

No Downloads

Another feature I am willing to pay for, and probably one coming in the future. Until then I have been using Mozilla’s Popcorn to edit the movies. this has allowed me to splice in other videos and add text layovers.

Final Verdict

I find Plotagon to be a powerful classroom tool and recommend it to all education professionals.

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