Tuesday 11 September 2012

Create Instant Interactive Text Based Activities

Creating computer based materials can be incredibly time consuming and also very frustrating as websites and web based content can change so quickly, that's why it is always so nice to discover tools like Textivate which can enable you to create instant interactivity using almost any text you find from around the web.

All you need to do is copy and paste your text into the Textivate window and then click on 'textivate now'.

Here you can see some text I have copied from the Goldilocks story which I found on the Project Gutenberg site.

Now I get a range of different exercise types to choose from. All I have to do to generate the exercise is to click on one of the square and I instantly have an interactive activity.

There are quite a few to choose from. Most of the first row divides the text into 'tiles' each of which have a portion of the text on. The students then have to put the text in the correct order by dragging and dropping them (NB: the columns work horizontally rather than vertically.)

You can also have the text arranged vertically so that students drag and drop the parts into position.

Some of my favourite task types it creates are the instant gapfill activity.

And the text reconstruction activity ( you can choose how many letters from each word are missing and even have all of them deleted if you want to.)

If you sign up and register (for free) you can save the texts that you use in the activity and have access to texts that other users have uploaded.

These activity types aren't new or revolutionary, but they do enable you to create instantly what a few years ago would have taken an experienced programmer hours to create. This means that you can change authentic web based reading texts into interactive texts and get them into your classroom on a projector or IWB in seconds.

You can make this tool available to your students and get them testing and developing their own reading and syntactical skills on their own computer for homework.

Best of all, if you register and log in, you can find a 'Share' button on your activities and get either a URL or an embed code to  add these to blogs, Moodle sites or other online materials. (My thanks to Martin Lapworth from Textivate for pointing this out as I completely missed it)

As I said, the activities aren't revolutionary or new, but they are useful ways of getting students to review texts and to look in more depth and the syntactical relationships between the words.

Why not try this one out for yourself and see how you get on:

Click below to access the activity. (Opens in a new window on touch devices.)

Click here to open the above activity in a new window.

I hope you find Textivate useful and try out the full range of activities with your students.

Related links:


Nik Peachey