Teacher Creates Animated Videos To Engage Students - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Teacher Creates Animated Videos To Engage Students

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by Aundrea Cline-Thomas

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Every good teacher tries to maximize their student's potential and reach them where they are. Sometimes keeping students engaged is just as challenging as teaching the material, especially when they have special needs.

"Sometimes they don't want to talk to an adult or even another student," Barfield Elementary Special Education Teacher Cari Parr said. "Sometimes they tend to seclude themselves, but they will listen to what a robot has to tell them."

In September Ms. Parr introduced her students to three robots thanks to the online program called Xtranormal.

"My favorite one is Max and George," one student said naming the robots. "I think Henry's pretty cool."

In a few short months they're hooked. While millions use the site to create animated movies, Ms. Parr uses it to teach students social skills.

"You just type in what you want each robot to say back and forth and you can change the camera angle," Parr explained about how she creates each video. "You can have them do different gestures."

After watching each specially crafted video, Parr then reinforces the lesson with additional activities.

"They remember TV shows and movies so readily and easily and quickly that this actually lets me control some of that," she explained about why it's working.

Now students are remembering key lessons that sometimes other students take for granted.

"You can do your work first (then) you can go places you want to," one student said about the lesson his favorite video taught him.

"They really have built anticipation which it's very hard to do that with students with our abilities, especially in a small group to keep their attention," Parr added.

Thanks to the robots, students are learning how to better connect with others.

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