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


Anonymous said...

What a fantastic resource! Thanks for the post :)

Vance Stevens said...

This is a remarkable find, Nik, not only because it is indeed a useful tool, but in that it recapitulates a bygone era in CALL, that of text manipulation. There have been some excellent proprietary text manipulation tools such as the Wida series and Camsoft's Fun with Texts, but few free ones that appear as comprehensive a package as this one is, and available online. I haven't tried these out myself, but I think text manipulation is a venerable technique, and it's nice that virtually unlimited home-grown materials can now be only as far away as your browser.

Geoff Taylor said...

Brilliant, thanks. Takes me back to the heyday of the old Wida suite...

JennyL said...

Excellent reference. Many grateful thanks.

Mary Di Mónaco said...

Many thanks, Nik. As you point out, the share feature is a great plus.

Martin McMorrow said...

Yes, thanks for that Nic - another gem!

anisoara said...

Hi Nik,
I tried the tool, thank you for sharing it with us.
I discovered that you can decide which words to be deleted in the gapped text by clicking the extra gapped text option!

nausheen said...

oh wow...this is such a wonderful tool and it has made my life so easy...i already have planned two lessons based on it. thanks for sharing