MeeGenius

MeeGenius is a new site that has been popular on Twitter recently. MeeGenius is an online library of picture books for young children. Currently there are nearly 30 books available to read, most of which are popular fairy tales.

meegenius library

The books can be read independently or there is an option to hear the book being read to you with the words being highlighted as you hear them. If you choose the read along option, you can pause the books as they are read aloud. This is useful as it allows you to ask the students questions and focus on teaching points.

One of the most exciting features of this site is the ability to personalise the stories. This could be a great way to entice reluctant readers and a fun tool to make the stories more meaningful to your students. You simply answer a few questions and the book is rewritten to include new character names and locations etc. You can also click on the “edit” button to rewrite the whole book. This could be useful for creating “Fractured Fairy tales” with students.

meegenisu

You don’t need to sign up to read the MeeGenius stories, however you do need to sign-up if you wish to save and email your personalised stories.

These stories would be great on an IWB or classroom computers. While the site is completely free, you can buy MeeGenius Apps from the iTunes store for iPhones, iPod Touches or iPads (currently AU$2.49)

Leave a comment. How could you use MeeGenius in your classroom?

Xtranormal New Features

We’re currently on school holidays until the end of January, however it is hard to switch off completely! I received an email about Xtranormal’s new software and have been having a play around today.

I have previous blogged about the great online movie maker “Xtranormal“. Click here to read my post about it this effective and simple tool to make animated movies.

My Grade Two students loved making movies on this site, however being an online application we had a few problems with the Internet being slow etc!

Xtranormal now has a program that you can download to your computer rather than making your movies on the net. It it is a beta software called “State“.

According to the site…

STATE lets you make better movies, faster.

  • Multiple actors per scene
  • Multiple scenes per movie
  • Audio import
  • Custom camera placement
  • Walking actors
  • Actors and locations marketplace
  • Voice recording NEW!

A cool feature of this program is that students can customise their actors’ voices with their own.

State is only available for Windows, however talk on the Xtranormal forum indicates that the Mac version may be coming soon.

The downside is, while State is free it only comes with a choice of two actors and one scene! You can pay to download “Showpaks” which are collections of actors and scenes that don’t come with the free version. The Showpaks tend to be around $40 US and give you quite a good selection of actors and scenes. I still think the program could be a useful digital storytelling tool to use in the classroom and the simplicity of it makes it ideal for younger students.

There are State tutorials on the Xtranormal website that you could go through as a class to introduce your students to the program.

Completed movies can be exported as standard movie files or shared on the web.

Here is a short video I made today with the State software.  

Trialling Xtranormal State from Kathleen McGeady on Vimeo.