What's new in textivate? New features will be added to the top of this list.
Until now, the Flashcards activity has looked like this:
The prompt is presented along with a question mark. The student tries to say the correct answer. They click the question mark and the correct answer is revealed. They then click the green tick if they got it right or the red cross if they got it wrong. (And if they got it wrong, that question was repeated again later.)
Well, most of that is exactly as it was before. The big difference is the option to set a different clue instead of just a question mark. (See the image at the top of the page which shows the option box.) So what you end up with now is all of the following ways of viewing Flashcards (as well as the default question mark option, which is still there):
The Tile and Horizontal activities, Paragraph, 1in3, 1in4, 1in5, Million and Next word now have a new feature: TTS sections.
If you have enabled TTS for your resource, you should see TTS sections as one of the TTS options for these activities. If you select TTS sections, a "Speak" button appears with a dropdown box for each sentence in the text. (See above). Click "Speak" to hear the current section.
See the embedded Tile 3x4 activity below as an example:
You may or may not be aware that it IS possible to create Match resources on textivate matching images with text. This blog post tells you all about it.
Well, with text-to-speech, it's now possible to add a voice to those images too. Here's how:
- Make an image based Match resource by placing urls pointing to the locations of your image files inside [img] and [/img] tags, as explained in this blog post.
- Add the text that you want to be spoken AFTER the closing [/img] tag and before the == separator.
- Add a TTS voice to the left part of your match resource. (See this blog post about adding TTS to your resources.)
You should end up with something that looks like this:
And activities like the embedded examples below, where the image serves to reinforce the meaning:
Add text-to-speech to your Match activities to create audio-based spelling activities where the meaning is reinforced by displaying the L1 as a prompt.
To do this:
- Make a Match activity with the items listed as L1>L2
- Add a TTS voice to the right match (L2)
- Use one of the "Fill in the letters" Match activities, with TTS on.
See the embedded example below:
We've now added text-to-speech (TTS) to the Space activity ("Separate the words").
If your resource has text-to-speech enabled, turn on TTS using the selector at the bottom of the screen, and click "speak" to speak the text one sentence at a time. Use the number selector to jump to a different part of the text. (After finishing speaking a sentence, the number selector jumps to the next sentence automatically, so you just need to keep clicking the "speak" button.)
Here's an embedded example for you:
A new feature added along with TTS (text-to-speech) was the ability to switch the order of matching items for many of the MATCH textivities.
This Switched / Not switched option can be specified in your sequences (as shown above), in URL fine-tuning via the Share icon, and students can change the order of matching items from within the activity using the Switch checkbox, shown below (EXCEPT when the activity is part of a Challenge).
This Switch feature is available for all the Match activities except: Snap, Click Match (6,8,9,10,12), Memory (6,8,9,10,12)
The Switch feature is NEVER available...
- when the resource contains images (or speak::) in the left match
- when the activity is being attempted as part of a Challenge
Well, some match activities work best with L2 prompts, where students have to choose the correct English translation for a given word or phrase, for example. Whereas text input (spelling) activities work best where the prompt is in the L1 and the students have to write in the correct response in the L2.
Switch means that you can now do these two types of activity using the same textivate resource.
See the 2 examples below, both taken from the same textivate resource:
A simple trick to turn your Match resources into Sound Match resources:
1. Add speak:: at the beginning of your left match items.
2. Add text-to-speech (TTS) to the left match items (by selecting the language on the "Extras" tab).
Your matching items will look like this:
The result is activities where the left-hand text is spoken but not shown on the screen. See the embedded examples below. (Click to open.)
Something new has appeared in the "Extras" tab on textivate...
We've added some new Text-To-Speech (TTS) functionality (using a third-party API from responsivevoice.com). It should work on all devices. (See the "Compatibility" section at the foot of this post...)
As you can see in the image above, this new feature allows you to select a language for...
- The main textivate text. (i.e. the one that is used for text activities)
- The left and right matching items.
- The parallel text. (if you have one)
Text-to-speech is optional. You can leave it off; or you can add languages to just the text; or to just the left match, or to just the right match (or to both matches); or to just the parallel text; or to everything.
If your students are using textivate to help them learn their own texts, they can also add TTS to their texts :)
(Although, as I'm sure you are aware, text-to-speech isn't always 100% perfect...)
TTS on the menu screen
If TTS languages have been specified for a resource, you should see little grey speakers appear after each paragraph of text and after each matching item.
Here is a link to the menu screen for the French resource examples provided below: http://www.textivate.com/menu-6ovjn1
N.B. If you are editing or creating a new resource, these will only appear if you are logged in to textivate.
TTS on activity screens
If TTS has been added to a resource, TTS option boxes should appear on activity screens. (Obviously, if you have a text+match resource and you have only added TTS for the text, the TTS option boxes will only appear on the text activities...).
TTS is available on all but a handful of textivate screens. The ones that don't have it are: Hangman and SpeedRead. (Also, the "no keyboard" versions of some of the activities have no TTS enabled.)
TTS in sequences
If TTS languages have been added to a resource, you should see TTS option boxes for any activities that you add to a sequence (except for those that have no TTS available; see 'TTS on activity screens' above).
You can turn TTS on and off for specific activities within a sequence. Note also the new 'switched' / 'not switched' option (as shown in the above image) available for some of the match activities, which allows you to specify which way round the match items appear in the sequence activity.
TTS specified in URLs
If TTS languages have been added to a resource, you should have the option to fine-tune link urls, embed code etc, to include TTS specification. (except for those that have no TTS available; see 'TTS on activity screens' above).
See this blog post about fine-tuning activity URLs.
Some TTS examples
The "ideal" sequence?
People have asked for suggestions for the sorts of activity combinations they should use for sequences.
The difficulty with this is that it depends on a lot of factors:
- whether it's a text resource, a matching resource, or both;
- the length of the text / number of matching items;
- how much exposure to the particular text students have already had -- how new it is to them;
- whether you want to use it for homework or for classwork;
- how long you expect to spend on the sequence (and if in class, the maximum time you have available for all students to complete the sequence);
- what devices your students will use to complete the sequence;
- what additional support you provide;
- what score you expect students to get (do you want a high pass grade, for example?)
- the level / ability of the students, etc, etc
Below I'll share some thoughts on some of the above (in no particular order). And in the second part of this post I'll make a couple of general suggestions for combinations of activities, and give a few examples.
(But please don't expect the "perfect" sequence. Too many variables, I'm afraid...)