I have no idea whether this was worth doing, but what the heck.
The software is Plotagon, which is free and in beta. It was shared with me by Tom Hodgers, a member of the POT Cert class, because I was looking for a replacement for the now defunct Xtranormal. I ran it on Mac OS 10.6 even though it requires 10.7. Then I uploaded to Vimeo, until I realized they (still) don’t have captions. So I uploaded to YouTube, put in the script for the new transcribing service, and then used a special embed code (cc_load_policy=1) to force the captions to show.
OK, so pedagogy. Students have trouble understanding the old poems and epics, unless translated in a way that makes them distinctly unpoetic. For one of my major topics in early Western Civilzation, heroic narratives, they need to encounter Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, and Beowulf (so they can work on – like last week’s class, epics like Star Wars, Shrek, and Forrest Gump – yes, that’s what they chose).
Short of spending weeks in Second Life, I don’t have an easy way to create characters in settings that would portray the text, and I’m not sure I want that. There’s something more pure about a reading rather than a performance for these epics, which were, after all, in the oral tradition. In this program I can create a “reading” instead of a show, like one might see at the reading of a play. No costumes, sets or production values. This imitates that, and I confess I came at all this backward after playing with the program, which I could not at first find a use for. So now all the people who will say, “That’s not pedagogy first! That’s technology first!” will feel vindicated. And I should probably double-post to ds106.