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:

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:

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:

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...

Conclusion

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

:0)

FRENCH - être (multiple tenses) 1st person...

Another resource blog, this time with a bit of tense revision for ÊTRE in various tenses (including with modals) in the first person (i.e. the "je" form).

Interactive exercises

Follow this link to open the above menu screen, with access to about 30 interactive exercises.

Worksheets

Scroll down for a few pdf worksheets (in no particular order). 

Note that you wouldn't expect students to do all of these (that would be daft!), but I've included all the possibilities so that you can see what is available.