There can be very few things in life as satisfying as seeing your ideas come to fruition before your eyes, and what I like about Plotagon is that it produces an animated movie from text dialogues.
OK the actors don’t deliver Oscar-winning performances – they look as if they’ve just walked off the set of Second Life The Movie, and their voices are obviously computer generated. But they do respond to the actions you select for them, and they speak the lines you write.
The applications of this in the classroom, it strikes me, are practically endless. Students can use it to write short scripts which then get rendered as movies. It could be used for just about any report back situation, for creative writing, or for creative ways of adding to presentations. Teachers of course could also use it to add content to their presentations, or flipped-learning content.
The interface itself is fairly simple to master, so you would not have to “teach” students to use it. You simply choose a scene and add actors, actions, movement, sound tracks and dialogue in sequence. You can preview the movie as you create it, and add sequences in any order.
When you are ready, you render the movie by sharing it to your account.
A down-side is that you cannot download the movie directly to your computer, but you can still add it to presentations via Youtube, or even download it from Youtube using KeepVid.
What I think is quite valuable, pedagogically is that it produces a very graphic output from a text-based input, which is great for the second or foreign language classroom in particular. It also allows students to spend time reflecting on their work, which is not always the case when they are filming using a camera.
Here’s one I made in about ten minutes, which I hope demonstrates the possibilities, and whets your appetite to try it out for yourself!.