tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:/posts The textivate blog 2017-03-24T16:20:51Z . . tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1141109 2017-03-23T22:12:04Z 2017-03-24T16:06:41Z How to exclude activities from the textivate menu

If you click on the "Extras" tab and scroll down to the bottom, you will see a section called "Exclude activities from menu", as shown in the image above.

By default, all textivate activities are available via the menu screen, provided the resource meets the requirements of each activity in terms of number of words etc. (And obviously, text activities are not displayed for match resources and vice versa...)

You can use this "Exclude activities from menu" section to exclude particular activities from the menu screen. 

Simply select the activities that you wish to exclude, and those activities will not be available via the textivate menu screen.

Your list of excluded activities appears in the "Show all" tab, looking something like this:

3x5, 4x4, 3x6, 4x5, 4x6, hz6, hz8, h10, hza, par

Why exclude activities?

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1139255 2017-03-16T17:59:52Z 2017-03-16T17:59:52Z Copy name from scoreboard feature added to challenge login -- good for Team Challenges :)

We've added a new feature allowing users to select from names that are already on the scoreboard when they log in to a challenge.


Well, this makes logging in much easier for Team Challenges, where you want several students to use the same scoreboard name to identify their team. (Previously the log-in box appeared in front of the scoreboard, so it wasn't easy to copy existing names...)

That's all. Just a little tweak to make things smoother. 

(A number of people had asked for this feature...)

>> Check out Team Challenges <<


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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1138686 2017-03-14T17:08:02Z 2017-03-14T17:09:22Z GCSE French essays on textivate plus :)

Have you seen the GCSE French essays section on textivate plus?

(Textivate Plus is for those with subscriptions to textivate. More info here.)

Each essay is split into at least 3 parts. 

Click on the essay titles (shown in image above) to see links to resources based on sub-sections of each essay as well as to the full essay. e.g. The sub-categories for "A holiday abroad" are shown below:

Each link then contains up to 59 activities, including vocab matching, reading, comprehension, dictation, translation, jigsaw reading, flashcards, football, millionaire. 

The activities are listed in order of difficulty, easiest to hardest.

Have a look for yourself: http://www.textivate.com/plus/French/KS4_GCSE%20essays_

The plan is to add more content to this section over time.


Related links

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1133892 2017-02-24T11:23:46Z 2017-02-24T18:02:41Z Exploiting songs with textivate

This blog post looks at some of the sorts of activities that you can do with textivate to exploit a song. The song itself can be embedded as a video, or as audio, or students can access it in a separate browser tab or window.

1. Tiles

This is shown in the image at the top of this post and involves dragging the tiles of text so that they are in the correct order. This works particularly well if the number of lines in the song matches the number of tiles on the screen, as in the example in the image above. If this is the case, simply ensure that any link to the activity is set to "split by sentence" (or ask students to navigate to the page and select this option). If this isn't the case, it isn't a problem, but selecting "split by sentence" ensures that the text is broken by either full stops or line breaks, which makes it clearer in my opinion.

>> Try this activity!!

2. Multi-choice

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1131331 2017-02-14T20:08:52Z 2017-02-14T20:24:56Z What's the difference between textivate and TaskMagic?

What's the difference between textivate and TaskMagic?

I get asked this quite a lot, by people who already have / have used TaskMagic.

("What's TaskMagic?", you ask... See this.)

  TaskMagic3    Textivate
Web-based?     No     Yes
Works on...: Windows Everything
Mobile?      No     Yes
Mac?      No     Yes
Linux?      No     Yes
Android?      No     Yes
iOS (iPad / iPhone)?      No     Yes
Windows?     Yes     Yes
Requires installation?     Yes      No
Requires internet connection?      No     Yes
Prints worksheets?     Yes     Yes
Worksheet definition / quality:   Good Variable
Text to speech? (TTS)      No     Yes
Embed video along with activities?      No     Yes
Big picture along with activities?      No     Yes
Audio along with activities? Depends     Yes
Parallel text along with activities?      No     Yes
Translation via parallel text?      No     Yes
Dictation via audio file?     Yes     Yes
Find the French / Spanish etc...?     Yes     Yes
Activities based on a text?     Yes     Yes
Activities based on a dialogue?     Yes     Yes
Activities based on matching text items? (Text Match)     Yes     Yes
Activities based on matching images with text? (Pic Match)     Yes     Yes
Activities based on matching audio with text?     Yes Yes (TTS)
Pic-Sound?     Yes      No
Grid Match?     Yes      No
Matching activities combining text, images and sound?      No     Yes
Text activities and Match activities in the same resource?      No     Yes
Multiple choice quiz?     Yes     Yes
Reading comprehension?     Yes     Yes
Maximum number of gap-fill formats per text?       5       2
Teacher can determine which activities are available for a resource?     Yes      No
Teacher-defined activity sequences?      No     Yes
Submit homework / classwork scores?      No     Yes
Gradebook of student sequence scores?      No     Yes
Individual / team scoreboard competitions?      No     Yes
Sharing resources? Yes (files) Yes (URLs)
Embed activities?      No     Yes
Link to specific activity?     Yes     Yes
Define parameters for activities via link?      No     Yes
Switch matching items within a resource?      No     Yes
Perpetual licence?     Yes      No
Annual subscription? Yes (new)     Yes

"What about the price?" I hear you say... Well:

TaskMagic price options

Textivate price options

Hope this helps. I appreciate it will mean very little unless you're reasonably familiar with one of the two.


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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1128211 2017-02-02T14:54:42Z 2017-02-02T14:55:59Z New menu screen

We've completely revamped the menu screen (above). 

This new version makes it much easier to read the text / matching items on the menu screen.

It also has words on the menu, rather than images intended to represent each activity.

And many activities that are essentially the same, such as all the tile activities, are now accessed in submenus.

Here's what it used to look like (if you've never used textivate, or if you've forgotten already...):

Here is a link to the menu as shown in the first image above. Have a play with it: http://www.textivate.com/menu-7rfjn1?colscheme=blue

We hope you like the change.

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1123907 2017-01-17T17:18:45Z 2017-02-09T14:53:45Z Comment vas-tu à l'école? (French resources based on openclipart...)

A resource blog-post, for a change...

The images in this textivate resource are direct links to images on the openclipart website, https://openclipart.org/

The 26 activities below are in the same order and format as many of the image+text matching resources on the KS3 French section of textivate plus (for textivate subscribers) at http://www.textivate.com/plus/French/KS3_General_

NB: Scroll down to below the interactive activities for some pdf worksheets based on this resource.

The embedded resources below can be accessed by anyone (with or without a subscription):

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/668613 2017-01-11T10:38:26Z 2017-02-09T15:00:16Z Dictée for homework?

Using a combination of embedded video or embedded audio and a single activity textivate sequence, it's easy to create a dictation activity on textivate that your students can complete for homework. (Records their score and time taken too.)

See this French example based on Prévert's "Déjeuner du matin":
(Close the log-in box to have a go at the activity)

Here is the same activity embedded. Close the log-in box to have a go at it. Then click on the video icon to open the activity with the video embedded, so that you can listen to the audio.

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1113975 2016-12-08T21:31:44Z 2017-01-07T10:16:37Z Noël en France (parallel text with TTS and vocab)

Short(ish) text suitable for KS3 or KS4

+ parallel English text

+ vocab matching items

+ text-to-speech !

Here is a link to the menu screen:

>> Noël en France <<


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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1110791 2016-11-25T11:06:34Z 2016-11-25T11:06:34Z Short texts: resources for GCSE French translation (and much more)

If you are a textivate subscriber, you will be able to access the resources on the textivate plus section of textivate. (If you are not a subscriber, you will be able to see what's there, but you won't be able to open the activities.)

One part of textivate plus is the "Short texts" section for KS4 French. These texts are similar in length (and content?) to the L1>L2 translation texts on the new GCSE specifications. (Higher tier, admittedly, but these are still useful practice resources for Foundation candidates.)

Here is the link to the short texts for GCSE French: http://www.textivate.com/plus/French/KS4_Short%20texts_

Check it out.

Each resource contains over 50 activities (described below, or you could just click the link above and select one of the resources):

  1. Text intro / rebuild: parallel English text to provide meaning, TTS for audio, multiple choice text rebuild.
  2. Flashcards, presenting the vocab in order as it appears in the text, with the parallel French text for reference.
  3. Jigsaw reading / translation: read the English and put the blocks of French in order.
  4. Jigsaw listening: click the speak button to hear the text spoken one sentence at a time; put the blocks of French in order.
  5. Separate the words: with parallel English text, click to separate French words that have been joined together.
  6. Vocab match (1 in 4): listen and read the prompt and select the correct English meaning; parallel French text provided for reference.
  7. Snap: decide whether the English (top line) matches with the French (bottom line), which is also spoken via TTS.
  8. Jigsaw reading / translation (as 3 but with more blocks)
  9. Jigsaw listening (as 4 but with more blocks)
  10. Click & Match: find the matching pairs.
  11. Millionaire reading: rebuild the French text without making any mistakes.
  12. Vocab 3 in a row
  13. Random gap-fill: fill the words in the text; gaps change with each page load.
  14. Key vocab gap-fill.
  15. Memory pairs.
  16. Gap-fill 3 in a row.
  17. Jigsaw reading / translation (as 3 but with more blocks)
  18. Jigsaw listening (as 4 but with more blocks)
  19. Gap-fill football game: a 2 minute game against textivate.
  20. Vocab match (1 in 10): listen and read the prompt and select the correct English meaning; parallel French text provided for reference.
  21. Find the French - initials: find the correct translation for the English phrase in the French text.
  22. Vocab dictation - vowels: listen and fill in the missing letters; English translation provided to reinforce meaning.
  23. Jumbled words dictation / translation: listen to the French and put the words in the correct order; parallel English text makes this a translation activity too.
  24. Vocab football.
  25. Vocab jumble - translation: look at the English and put the French words in the correct order.
  26. Word blocks dictation: click the speak button to hear the text spoken one sentence at a time; click the 3-words blocks to rebuild the text.
  27. Word blocks translation: read the parallel English text and click the 3-words blocks to rebuild the text.
  28. Speed read: multi-choice text rebuild with a timer.
  29. Vocab dictation - initials: listen and fill in the missing letters; English translation provided to reinforce meaning.
  30. Flashcards translation - vowels: read the English and see if you know what the French translation should be; the French is provided with vowels missing.
  31. Vocab translation - no vowels: read the English and fill in the missing letters in the French.
  32. Word invaders: click the French words missing from the text in the correct order.
  33. Word snake: listen, read and find the missing letters.
  34. Invaders - vocab dictation.
  35. Find the French - with anagrams: find the correct translation for the English phrase in the French text.
  36. Flashcards translation - initials: read the English and see if you know what the French translation should be; the French word shapes are provided along with initial letters.
  37. Vocab translation - initials: read the English and fill in the missing letters in the French.
  38. Flashcards translation, with word shapes provided + French text for reference; a sort of find-the-French meets flashcards.
  39. Find the French - with word shapes: find the correct translation for the English phrase in the French text.
  40. Vocab dictation - word shapes: listen and fill in the missing letters; English translation provided to reinforce meaning.
  41. Letter maze dictation game.
  42. Flashcards translation - word shapes: read the English and see if you know what the French translation should be; the French word shapes are provided.
  43. Translation / dictation combined - no vowels.
  44. Dictation - no vowels.
  45. Translation - no vowels.
  46. Translation / dictation combined - with anagrams.
  47. Dictation - with anagrams.
  48. Translation - with anagrams.
  49. Invaders - letter gap-fill game.
  50. Translation / dictation combined - with initial letters.
  51. Dictation - with initial letters.
  52. Translation - with initial letters.
  53. Flashcards translation, without clues: look at the English and see if you know the French.
  54. Translation / dictation combined - with word shapes.
  55. Dictation - with word shapes.
  56. Translation - with word shapes.

The activities are ordered approximately from easier to more difficult. Obviously, nobody would suggest doing every activity. But you have a lot to go at.


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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1106476 2016-11-08T10:16:47Z 2017-02-04T15:58:18Z Textivate Plus

We've created a new section on textivate with ready-made resources. So far it only has resources for French, but we'll be adding to it over the coming months.

We've tried to include plenty of activities with a focus on L1>L2 translation.

Check it out: http://www.textivate.com/plus.php

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/731569 2016-09-25T09:56:21Z 2017-02-09T15:01:53Z Adding an audio file to your textivate resource

Just as you can add a video to your textivate resources, as explained here, or an image (see here), you can now add an audio file to a textivate resource so that students can listen to it as they complete the activities.

As with video and image embedding, there are 2 methods:

1. Via the "Extras" tab

Simply click on the Extras tab and type or paste the link to your audio in the "Audio url" box.

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1084357 2016-08-27T16:17:35Z 2016-08-29T14:43:09Z What's been added to TEXTIVATE since the beginning of the last academic year?

New features are being added to textivate all the time. 

To give you an idea, if you've been using textivate for the last 12 months (September 2015 - August 2016), these are all the new features that have been added to textivate in that time. Click on the links for more info:

  1. Challenges (September 2015) - in-class competitions for individuals or teams
  2. Match Jumble (October 2015) - new match activity
  3. Drop-down box navigation (November 2015)
  4. Split by sentence (November 2015)
  5. Improved options for non-roman-script languages (November 2015)
  6. Jumbled words (November 2015) - new text activity
  7. Word invaders (November 2015) - new text activity
  8. Football (January 2016) - new text and match activities
  9. 3 in a row (January 2016) - new text and match activities
  10. Space specifications (January 2016)
  11. Flashcards improvements (January 2016)
  12. Speed read (February 2016) - new text activity
  13. Text to speech (July 2016) - new feature to add speech functionality to almost all your textivities
  14. Switch matching items (July 2016) - improvement for match resources
  15. Flashcards clues options (August 2016) - makes flashcards much more versatile

Challenges are just one of many new features added to textivate in the past 12 months...

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/702547 2016-08-04T20:49:43Z 2017-03-24T16:20:51Z LATEST ADDITIONS

What's new in textivate? New features will be added to the top of this list.

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1078497 2016-08-03T15:27:28Z 2016-08-03T21:04:59Z BIG changes to Flashcards with new "Clue" option :0)

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):

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1078485 2016-08-03T14:45:45Z 2016-08-03T14:59:46Z New text-to-speech "sections" option added to many text activities.

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:

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1075348 2016-07-23T12:22:48Z 2017-02-04T15:54:40Z Talking pictures? Image-based Match resources with added text-to-speech!

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Add the text that you want to be spoken AFTER the closing [/img] tag and before the == separator.
  3. 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:

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1075346 2016-07-23T11:46:28Z 2016-07-23T11:46:28Z TTS for spelling activities, with meaning reinforced by L1

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:

  1. Make a Match activity with the items listed as L1>L2
  2. Add a TTS voice to the right match (L2)
  3. Use one of the "Fill in the letters" Match activities, with TTS on.

See the embedded example below:

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1075225 2016-07-22T19:17:09Z 2016-07-22T20:21:52Z TTS (text-to-speech) added to Space (Separate the words)

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:

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1075218 2016-07-22T18:34:35Z 2016-07-22T18:35:33Z New SWITCH feature for many of the MATCH textivities

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

Why Switch?

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:

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1071442 2016-07-10T13:04:16Z 2017-02-09T15:16:57Z TTS to make match activities with spoken prompts only... (Sound Match)

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.)

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1069624 2016-07-04T11:53:42Z 2016-07-25T09:49:40Z Text-to-Speech (TTS) on textivate :0)

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

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1048938 2016-05-09T17:03:19Z 2017-02-04T16:05:40Z Things to consider when making a textivate sequence...

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:

  1. whether it's a text resource, a matching resource, or both;
  2. the length of the text / number of matching items;
  3. how much exposure to the particular text students have already had -- how new it is to them;
  4. whether you want to use it for homework or for classwork;
  5. 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);
  6. what devices your students will use to complete the sequence;
  7. what additional support you provide;
  8. what score you expect students to get (do you want a high pass grade, for example?)
  9. 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...)

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1033553 2016-04-15T14:05:42Z 2017-02-09T15:24:25Z Textivate terminology


A resource is a text entered into the "Text" tab, or a list of matching items added to the "Match" tab, or both of these.

A resource may or may not contain extra bits such as a parallel text, or a link to a video, an audio file or an image. It may or may not contain details of a sequence of activities (see below).

A resource is, essentially, the contents of the "Show all" tab on the textivate home page.

You upload this to textivate using the upload icon.

When you click on "textivate now" you go to a menu page for your resource, which has icons for lots of different activities (see the image below). If your students access the menu for your resource, they are free to choose from the activities and attempt them in any order.

If your resource is uploaded to textivate as a 'shareable' or 'public' resource, you can share a link to your resource either via the home page (edit screen) or the menu page, by clicking on the "Share" icon at the top-right. (This will provide a link to the home page or the menu page, depending on where you copy the link from.)

Activity / Textivity

Activities (A.K.A. textivities) are the many games and exercises that are (mostly) automatically generated by textivate based on your resource.

If your students have access to the menu page for a resource, they are free to choose from the activities and attempt them in any order.

If your resource is uploaded to textivate as a 'shareable' or 'public' resource, you can provide a direct link to any activity. To do this, go to the activity page and click on the "Share" icon at the top-right. (You can also embed activities on other web pages, blogs etc via the same "Share" icon.)


A sequence is an optional addition to a resource, added to the resource via the "Sequence" tab.

A sequence consists of a list of activities from your resource, with target scores and various other parameters set, and students have to complete the sequence of activities in the order specified.

At the end of a sequence, after completing all activities satisfactorily, students can upload their sequence scores to textivate so that their teacher has a record of the time taken, scores, repeats etc.

Sequences do not have a time limit, although sequence scores are only stored for 30 days.

If you want your students to access your sequence, you need to provide them with the sequence URL. First, make sure that the resource uploaded to textivate as a 'shareable' or 'public' resource. Then click on the "Share" icon at the top-right of the home page, the menu page, or any activity page; click the "Link to sequence" option, then copy the URL from the URL box and share this with your students.

(You can also get an embed code for your sequence via the "Share" icon on any of the activity pages.)

(Only Premium and Group subscribers can use sequences.)

See this blog post on sequences (and see the other related links at the bottom of that post) and this blog post on the differences between sequences and challenges.


A challenge is completely separate from your resources. (It is saved separately and is not part of an existing resource.)

A challenge is a scoreboard competition for individuals or teams based on one or more of your own resources.

When taking part in a challenge, students are free to choose from all of the activities on the menu page for your resource and they can attempt them as many times as they like and in any order. After completing each activity satisfactorily, points are added to the scoreboard. Students can go back and look at the scoreboard at any point to see how they are ranked.

You create challenges using the "Challenge" icon (the trophy) on the textivate home page.

Challenges have a time limit (5 mins to 30 days) and students can take part in them in class, at home, or wherever.

If you want your students to access your challenge, you need to provide them with the challenge URL. To do this, click on the "Challenge" icon on the home page, scroll down to the challenge that you want to share, then copy the URL from the URL box and share this with your students.

(Only Premium and Group subscribers can use challenges.)

See this blog post on challenges, and this blog post on the differences between sequences and challenges.

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1033503 2016-04-14T19:02:16Z 2016-04-15T14:06:51Z Textivate icon reference

New resource

On the home / edit page. Click this icon to clear the contents of all of the tabs on the home page before embarking on a new resource.


On the home / edit page. Once you have created your resource and are ready to upload it to the textivate server, click this icon to add the name of your resource, extra information, tags etc and upload it. You need to have a full (teacher) log-in in order to upload resources.

Local storage

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1027643 2016-04-06T17:32:15Z 2016-05-14T15:14:26Z Team Challenges

Have you tried a team challenge on textivate?

You can do this during class time or between classes, or from one week to the next. (Just make sure to set an appropriate end time for the challenge.)

It's dead easy to do. Simply create a challenge based on one or more of your resources, split the class into as many teams as you like, and tell each member of each team to use their team name as their "scoreboard name". In the example above I've rather unimaginatively used "Team 1" to "Team 4", but you can use whatever names you like -- just make sure the students type them in correctly...

What you end up with is a team challenge where students can return to the scoreboard between activities and see how well their team is doing. If you are doing this in class, you can set it up so that the scoreboard is on display on a projector or IWB, with auto-refresh turned on, so that the scoreboard automatically updates every 30 seconds or so. (You can only do this if you are logged in and the challenge was created by you.)

A challenge is a great way of encouraging students to re-read a text in lots of different ways, increasing their exposure to repetitions of core structures, vocabulary, etc, and it provides extrinsic motivation to engage in the many activities -- i.e. to score points and beat the other teams! 

One of the benefits of a team competition is that all team members can feel that they are contributing to the overall team score, even if they, personally, are not the brightest and would quickly lose heart if they saw that their scores were very low while other students in the class were racing ahead. This would work particularly well if you set up "vertical" teams, where every team has a range of ability, and preferably equal numbers. (Having said that, allowing for varying numbers of team members might also be a good way of redressing the balance between groups of students with different abilities.)

Here's a link to the challenge featured in the image above. Why not join a team and contribute?


(BTW, if you feel that the text featured in the example above is not the sort of content you would like to expose your students to, well, that is not a problem -- you can make your challenge based on whatever text and / or vocab items you want to expose them to.)

Here's a quote from a user of textivate (a TPRS teacher) commenting on team challenges on facebook:

"The challenge gets everyone engaged. We do it as teams. My classroom gets so quiet you can hear a pin drop and then there is raucous uproar when someone on a team dumps a chunk of points. The kids get so intense. It is a great wrap up activity after a story has been told and I've done everything I want to with actors and re-tells, etc. this is my final push and we end with a bang!"


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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1027588 2016-04-06T16:08:27Z 2017-02-09T15:30:43Z The Space Game

A simple team game, played ideally with a fairly short text.

In the example here (see image above and live example below) I have chosen to affect 1 in 3 spaces in the text (i.e. 2 in 3 spaces between words are already present) and students have 48 more spaces to find.

Divide the class into 2 teams and select a member from each team in turn to play.

The rules:

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1019497 2016-03-25T11:27:03Z 2016-03-25T12:42:06Z Discourse scrambles, via Bill Van Patten @teawithbvp

Bill Van Patten recently shared a link on the Tea With BVP website to a google doc (see below) on the topic of discourse scrambles.

Discourse scrambles are activities where you take a list of sentences or dialogue utterances, and students are required to put them into the correct order. According to Van Patten, "the language overall should be comprehensible in its original form, otherwise students cannot complete the task".

Van Patten goes on to explain the benefits of discourse scrambles:

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1015928 2016-03-18T14:25:10Z 2017-02-04T16:09:43Z The student password on textivate

What are student passwords?

On textivate, there aren't student passwords (plural). There is just one student password shared by all of your students.

How do I get a student password?

If you have a Premium or Group subscription, you will already have a student password. It was sent to you as part of your account activation email.

If you have a Basic subscription, you don't get a student password.

What is the student password for?

The student password is only needed for the following 4 scenarios.

  1. Students submitting sequence scores -
    Students need to be logged in with your username + the shared student password to submit scores at the end of a textivate sequence. They also need to add their name and class so that you can identify them. See this post on sequences on textivate.

  2. Students accessing password-protected challenges -
    If you have created a challenge for your students and have specified that a password is required, this means that it can only be accessed by you (with your username + password) and your own students (with your username + the shared student password). They also need to add a scoreboard name so that they can be identified on the scoreboard. See this post on challenges on textivate.
    Note that if a challenge is not password-protected, students do not need to use the student password to log in.

  3. Students textivating their own texts -
    Many schools use textivate primarily for this: so that students can put in their own text and use all of the text re-construction, gap-filling and text-entry activities to help them learn its content or memorize it. (See the next question, which deals with this issue.)

  4. Students searching or browsing public resources -
    Students need to be logged in using your username + the shared student password if they want to search or browse the thousands of public resources uploaded to textivate (via the spy glass icon).

If you simply want to share a resource or a particular activity with your students, they don't need to log in using the student password. You can simply provide a URL to the resource or activity, or you can embed the activity on your website or blog.

If you have created a challenge for your students that is not password protected, there is no need for students to log in. They just need to key in their scoreboard name and start playing.

Can students upload their own texts using the student password?

No. But they don't need to anyway.

If your students are using textivate to help them to learn a text, they have 2 options regarding how they store and access their info.

  1. Copy and paste -
    If students are using textivate, they have to be online. So it's easy for them to access email, webmail, google docs, one drive, etc etc. There are plenty of ways of copying and pasting to and from another source. At the beginning of a textivate session, students copy from their source text and paste into textivate. At the end of their session, if they have made any changes to the resource, they can copy all of the text from the "Show all" tab and paste it to wherever they are storing it.

  2. Local storage -
    If students are using the same device each time they access textivate, they can save their resource into local storage (by clicking on the filing cabinet icon). At the beginning of the next session, they can open it from local storage. At the end of the session, they can save any changes to local storage again.

So students really do not need to upload their own texts. 

(Nor is there any need for you to upload their texts for them. It simply is not necessary. And it's a waste of your own time.)

If you are thinking that you would rather get around this by giving your students your own teacher password, or by assigning one of your Group subscription username + password combinations to your students, please read on...

Should I let my students use the teacher password?

No. You definitely should NOT give your students access to your own teacher password, or assign them one of your Group subscription username + password combinations.

Here are a number of reasons why:

  • They can change your account settings -
    If a student has your username and password, they can change the email address linked to your account. Once they have done that, they can change the password for your account, locking you out of your own account.

  • They can delete your resources, challenges, sequence etc -
    Even if they do not change the email or password for the account, they can still do all sorts of damage. If you have uploaded any resources to textivate, any student with access to your username and teacher password will be able to modify them or delete them.

  • They can upload inappropriate content
    If you give teacher account access to your students, they can upload resources just like you can. They could upload inappropriate or offensive content and you would have no way of knowing who was responsible.

  • Log-in problems / Automatic log-outs -
    Bear in mind also that only one person can be logged in at one time with a teacher password. This means that if several students are using the same teacher log-in, they will constantly be getting messages telling them that someone else is logged in, and being automatically logged out of textivate. And if you want to use the account too, the same will happen to you. This is not the case with the shared student password -- all of your students can use it at the same time.

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tag:textivate.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1011905 2016-03-11T16:48:49Z 2017-02-09T16:19:18Z Making matching resources? The L1 / TL order really does matter...

When you create a "matching" resource on textivate, it really does make a difference which side you put the target language...

TL = Target Language (the language being taught)
L1 = First language / mother tongue / the language of instruction.

Consider the activities generated by textivate when you create a resource based on 12 or more matching items (see image above). There are 32 (at the time of this blog post).

Let's go through them...

Flashcards, Snap, Shuffle, Switch, Click Match (x5), Memory Match (x5)

With these activities it makes no difference which way round you put your matching items. With Flashcards*, you can choose before you start playing whether to see the cards as left-then-right or right-then-left. With the others, it makes no difference really.

*Which one of these options the student chooses can make a big difference to how the activity works though -- if it's TL first, the student is checking if they know what the word or phrase means; if it's L1 first, they are having to produce the correct word or phrase based on a L1 prompt. Very different.

Multi Match (x4), Million, Football, 3 in a Row

With these activities, which are all essentially Multiple Choice activities, it doesn't make a big difference. But it does change the focus. 

If the prompt is in the TL, with multiple options in the L1, you are asking the students if they know what the particular TL word or phrase means, and offering them some options to choose from.

If the prompt is in the L1, with multiple options in the TL, you are asking the students how to say that particular word or phrase in the TL, and providing them with some options to choose from.

In the 1st case there is more of a receptive focus, and in the 2nd case more of a productive focus.

All the rest...

With all of the rest of the activities, it makes a BIG difference which way round you have input the L1 and the TL words and phrases.

All of these activities are focused on producing language. And usually on spelling words correctly. There is very little value in providing prompts in the TL and asking students to spell the L1 correctly, is there?

Hangman, for example, would simply involve guessing words in the L1 (i.e. no TL work at all!)...

Most of the activities are far too easy if the order is TL>L1. Or they are testing the wrong thing -- L1 spelling rather than producing correct TL.

Bear in mind also that these are the activities which score the highest points in textivate challenges, precisely because they are the most challenging, in that they require the student to produce correct TL words or phrases rather than just recognize correct answers. If you set challenges based on matching resources where the order is TL>L1, you are rewarding students with high scores simply for spelling words in the L1...


If you want your students to experience a real range of difficulty within the same set of vocab or matching items, put the target language ON THE RIGHT.

And if you already have matching resources on textivate with the TL and the L1 in the wrong order... it's OK, you don't need to type them all out again! Simply click on "Switch matching items..." and it switches them all for you:

Update (July 2016)

In July 2016 we added a "Switch" checkbox to many of the textivate match activity screens, so it is now possible for students to change the order of matching items from within the activity (EXCEPT when the activity is part of a Challenge). You can also fine-tune URL links and sequence activities to specify whether the activity appears as "switched" or "not switched". 

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


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