How can I use textivate?

Textivate is a way for teachers and educators to create multiple interactive exercises (and worksheets) based on texts and/or matching items, which can then be used in so many different ways, shared by other teachers / educators and accessed by students.

What can you do with a textivate subscription? See the long list below...:

1) Create your own instant interactive exercises or use resources created by others.

It's so easy to create your own resources - it's just a matter of pasting in a text, or a list of matching items, or both. To make resources based on a text, simply type or paste a text into the textivate textbox. See this blog post on making matching activities. And this one on putting text and matching exercises into one resource.

There are thousands of resources already uploaded to textivate, so have a look and see if you can find what you're looking for before making it yourself.

If you have a Premium or Group subscription, you can also allow your students to browse the 1000s of public resources on textivate. (Log-in via shared student password - not available in Basic Subscription.)

2) Do textivities with the whole class using an interactive whiteboard / projector.

Most (if not all) of the interactive activities generated by textivate can be used with a Smartboard, Promethean board or any interactive whiteboard / projector. Where appropriate, text boxes, tiles, draggable and clickable components are numbered for easy reference in the class.

Get the whole class involved with putting text in order, filling gaps, re-constructing texts, matching vocab, memory games in 2 teams, millionaire etc. With so many activities to choose from textivate makes it easy to come up with the ideal activity for front-of-class work.

All subscription levels can use textivate in this way.

3) Jigsaw texts, gap-fills, text re-building, anagrams, wordsnakes, and lots more based on any text.

The wide range of textivate activities based on any text mean that you can approach the same text in lots of different ways, and at lots of different levels.

Some exercises are simple - such as putting 6 blocks of text in order. But when you gradually increase the number of blocks (up to a maximum of 24) the difficulty level goes up and up. Jigsaw reading activities are a great way of getting students to focus on sequencing, on how chunks of text fit together: What type of word must come next? If it's a verb, which form will it be? How many ways could the text continue from this point? Million is another sequencing activity. Gap-fill gets students thinking in a similar way - working out what sort of word is required in the particular context. Ditto wordsnake and invaders.

The fill in the letters activities (of which there are several) work in a number of ways: help students to memorize a text; focus on spelling and accuracy; use word shape and context to work out the missing letters, etc. You can do an "Initials" or "No letters" activity based on every 3rd word, so that students have a gap-fill activity with the shape of the word provided. Lots of possibilities.

Do text activities with the IWB, or 1 student per computer. Or watch the interactions that take place when you get 2 students working together at a computer - real engagement with text;  real collaborative learning.

Premium or Group subscription is required to share activities with others. Basic subscription can be used to create IWB resources. 

4) Matching exercises, flashcards, snap, missing letters, anagrams, invaders, etc. based on matching items.

Use flashcards to introduce vocab - students can use it by themselves to test themselves.

Play snap, do matching activities, memory games (1:1 or wholeclass with IWB).

Play a 2 player or 2 team memory game.

Focus on recognition / receptive skills via matching activities, and spelling / accuracy / production via text entry activities such as "anagrams" and "no letters". Again these can be dome 1:1 or with the whole class using an IWB.

Premium or Group subscription is required to share activities with others. Basic subscription can be used to create IWB resources. 

5) Provide textivities for your students to do on computers, laptops, ipads etc., in class or at home.

You can use textivate with any computer, laptop, ipad, in class, in IT suites, in the school library, at home, wherever. You can create resources for students to use in their own time - not just in class time.

Premium or Group subscription is required to create activities for others to complete on other devices.

6) Print pairs cards, memory cards, dominoes, jigsaw texts, etc. to cut up and use for collaborative pair or group work in class.

I've already spoken about getting students engaged with rebuilding a text, sequencing etc.  And working on vocabulary. These don't have to be a tech-based exercises though. 

Print from textivate and get students collaborating in class.

You can print cut-out-and-play versions of all of the jigsaw texts on textivate. Here's an example:

You can also print and cut out pairs cards, to use for a kinaesthetic matching exercises, or to play snap, or a memory game - where they turn all cards face-down on their desk and then take turn to turn over 2 cards at a time; if they find a pair, they keep it; if not, they turn them back over and try to remember what they were for later. Here's an example:

And of course, dominoes!

All subscription levels can use textivate in this way.

7) Print worksheets for students to complete in class or for homework.

Gap-fills, matching exercises, text reconstruction worksheets etc can be used in class, for students to work alone or in pairs, and they are also ideal for providing students with extra practice at home.

See this blog post for lots more information about printing worksheets with textivate, including video tutorials and losts of pdf samples.

All subscription levels can use textivate in this way.

8) Embed individual textivities on your class blog, webpage or wiki. Or let students access resources via a url link.

This blog post looks at the various ways you can share resources that you have created. It's so easy to do -  a very easy way to populate a resources section on your blog or wiki. Here's an example of an embedded activity:

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.

And another:

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.

Premium or Group subscription is required to share activities with others. This includes embedding activities or sharing resources via a URL.

9) Get students working on model texts on a particular topic. Then get them to adapt the model to produce their own version and practise it with the whole range of textivities.

A great way to use textivate is to focus on a model text - maybe the end product of a particular topic or unit of work; maybe a story that you've been constructing. You can get students engaging with the structure of the text, remembering the story or text, focusing on all those little words that glue the text together. And you can add vocab to your text as a kind of glossary which transforms into interactive vocab exercises.

You can then get students to modify the model text to create their own version, and then learn and practise this version too.

This blog post looks at this in more detail.

Premium or Group subscription is required to share activities with others. Premium and Group subscription also include a shared student password, allowing students to modify texts and play around with their own texts "on the fly".

10) Create sequences of textivate activities to set as homework, so that you get a record of completion, scores and time taken.

Premium and Group subscribers can create a sequence of activities, which students must complete in the order that you specify. For most activities, you can also specify a target score which the student must achieve in order to pass on to the next activity.

You can have as many activities as you like in a sequence (or just one if you like). When students have completed a sequence, they are invited to log-in using your (Premium or Group) textivate username plus the shared student password for your account. They can then enter their name and upload the record of their work.

You can then access student scores etc via the gradebook icon on textivate. You get a global score, total time taken, plus a breakdown of scores and time taken for each activity, including how many times each activity was repeated.

This is a great way of checking that students have completed their homework, as well as giving you all sorts of info about their performance. More importantly, it's also a great way of ensuring that students are exposed to lots of repetitions of your target structures and vocabulary, whilst giving you a way of checking that they are putting the work in.

See this blog post for more info about sequences, including video tutorials and links to further articles related to sequences on textivate.

Premium or Group subscription is required to share activities with others.

11) Create "Challenges" to get your students competing in class or for homework

A Challenge is a time-limited competition based on one or more of your existing textivate resources.

A challenge is great way of getting students participating in competitions based on reading, vocab and text manipulation. It's an excellent way of increasing students' exposure to the target language.

Once students start competing in a challenge, the scoreboard starts to fill up with their names and scores. As students complete activities, they score points which are added to the scoreboard. Students can return to the scoreboard at any time to see where they are on the board.

A challenge can be based on teams, on pairs or on individuals. To set up a team challenge, simply assign team names and ask members of each team to log in using their assigned team name.

A challenge doesn't have to be limited to one class period. You can set a specific end point for the challenge - maybe one week from now, and let students spend time outside class time adding to their score. Why not set a challenge every week, as an optional extra, and reward those who get the highest scores?

See this blog post for more information about challenges.

Premium or Group subscription is required to create challenges.

12) Incorporate video or audio to add a whole new dimension to interactive resources.

Video

Adding video to a textivate resource adds all sorts of other possibilities:

  • A text describing what happens in a video. Great for movietalk!
  • A text which is a transcript of the video. This means you can provide listening and dictation activities with many varying levels of support.
  • A text which is a response to the video content.
  • A grammar / vocab resource accompanying a "flipped" video.
  • Translation / interpereting, using a video in the L1 (on lots of different levels).
  • Dictation (on lots of different levels).

See this blog post on exploiting videos in textivate.

Audio

Adding an audio file adds many of the video features mentioned above. Here is a Spanish food and drink example.

See this blog post on adding audio to your textivate resources.

Premium or Group subscription is required to share activities with others. Basic subscription can be used to create IWB resources. 

13) Describing or responding to a picture.

Add an image as a prompt for a textivate resource. Use this with texts that describe a picture to practise all sorts of language:

  • Say what's happening
  • Say what is going to happen
  • Say what has just happened
  • Then and now
  • Prepositions
  • etc, etc,...

This example in French uses simple language, colours, prepositions etc to describe a painting by Van Gogh. The many textivate activities mean that there are all sorts of ways of exploiting a textivate resource with a picture, from sequencing to gap-fill to text-reconstruction (with lots of options within these).

Or you could use a picture which simply provides a context for the text.

Or a picture with labelled vocabulary to accompany a text.

See this blog post on adding a picture prompt to a textivate resource.

Premium or Group subscription is required to share activities with others. Basic subscription can be used to create IWB resources. 

14) Parallel texts.

Add an additional text to your resource to provide further support. For example, adding a parallel text in English to a French / Spanish / German resource can make a foreign language text MUCH more accessible, even for beginners.

A parallel text helps students to (a) understand the meaning of the text and (b) remember the structure and content of the text. Students still need to read the target language in order to complete the activities, but they have the parallel English text to help them at every stage. So you can do things like:

You can even use the parallel text feature to make the foreign language text appear alongside matching and vocab activities (for Text+Match resources). e.g.:

  • Multi-choice: matching vocab with reference to the text. (Could also be question and answer.)
  • Find the French (or whatever the foreign language is...), at various levels: 5050, initials, no letters

See this blog post on adding a parallel text to a textivate resource.

Premium or Group subscription is required to share activities with others. Basic subscription can be used to create IWB resources. 

15) Reading or listening comprehensions.

Create a matching resource based on questions and answers about a text or listening passage. Then add a parallel text or audio to go with the questions, and you end up with a variety of listening or reading comprehension formats such as:

  • Multiple choice (1in3, 1in4, 1in5, 1in10)
  • Unscramble the answer (using anagrams)
  • Write in the missing vowels or consonants in the answer
  • Fill in the answer, with just the word shapes provided
  • Fill in the answer, with initial letters provided

The process for creating these types of resources is described in this blog post.

Some examples:
Fill in the answer reading
Fill in the answer reading (anagrams)
Multiple-choice listening (1in4)
Multiple-choice listening (1in10)

Premium or Group subscription is required to share activities with others. Basic subscription can be used to create IWB resources. 

16) Text-To-Speech (TTS)

Adding text-to-speech is a great way of making your textivities talk! 

  • Students can add TTS to their own texts to help them to learn pronunciation.
  • Add TTS to your Match resources so students know how to pronounce the new vocab. You can also make Sound Match activities (i) where the student hears the audio in L2 and has to match with the L1, as in this example; (ii) where the student is presented with L2 audio and L1 text and is required to spell the L2 text, as in this example
  • Add TTS to your texts to provide pronunciation support for students. This also allows you to make dictation activities as in this example, or combined translation / dictation activities as in this example, or simply add TTS audio support to your textivities, like this gap-fill example.

See this blog post all about using text-to-speech in textivate.

All subscription levels can use TTS in textivate. BUT you'll need a Premium or Group subscription if you want students to be able to make TTS-enabled activities "on the fly" based on their own texts.

17) And finally... Students can use textivate to help them learn their own vocabulary or memorise their own texts prior to assessments. Or they can browse the many resources uploaded by other textivate contributors.

Textivate is a great way of memorising a text. Really. That's what students tell us all the time :0)

If you have a Premium or Group subscription to textivate, you get an additional STUDENT LOGIN so that your students can textivate their own texts, edit existing texts and play around with them, etc.

BUT... as I hope I've shown you in this blog post, textivate is so-o-o much more than a text-memorisation tool.

Premium or Group subscription is required for students to create textivities "on the fly" based on their own texts. 

:o)

So many possibilities... So many ways you can use textivate...

Subscription?

Basic subscription costs £20 (GBP) per year and allows you to store up to 20 uploaded resources.

Premium subscription costs £40 (GBP) per year and allows you to store up to 200 uploaded resources.

Group subscription costs £100 (GBP) per year and has 10 separate teacher log ins - it's like having 10 Premium subscriptions, with a combined storage limit of 1000 resources.

For a complete breakdown of the various subscription options go to the textivate home page at www.textivate.com and click on the "subscribe" link.

views

Tags

2 responses
get me learning
This really helps me memorise my german