New search functionality, plus views and likes

Several small updates and improvements:

  • New search resource type options:
    We've added to the search parameters to include "all with text" (which includes text AND text+match resources) and "all with match" (which includes match AND text+match resources).
    This means it is now possible to search through all resources that have a text, rather than doing a text search and a text+match search separately. Similarly with vocab / matching resources.

  • New search order options:
    We've added views and likes to the search by options. These search by most viewed and most liked respectively. (And then by most recent.)

  • Views and likes:
    We've started counting views and likes.
    Likes are based on logged-in users clicking on the "favourite" icon for a resource.
    Views are based on a resource being accessed by any user. (Repeat views with a 15 minute period are not counted.)
    Users can search by most liked and most viewed. Numbers for views and likes will also appear in the resource info for all resources, accessible via the +i icon, as well as in the Public and My resources lists.
    (Clearly, views and likes are not retrospective. All counts started on 16th May 2017.)

  • Recent and Favourite resources increased to 100:
    Previously, we only stored info for the 10 most recent / favourite resources. We've increased it to 100.


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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Separate the words (Space) -- NEW feature: choose the number of words affected.

We've made an improvement to the "Space" activity (Separate the words), so that if your text has more than 20 words in it, you can now decide on the number of words to be joined up.

Your options are: All words; 1/2 words; 1/3 words; 1/4 words; 1/5 words

Why do this? Well, for a couple of reasons...

Firstly, for longer texts, the Space activity can be quite long and drawn out. Imagine a 300-word text, requiring a click between every word. It takes a long time to complete. Reducing the number of words joined up means the activity is much quicker. Set at 1/5 words, a 300 word text would only need about 60 clicks to complete.

Secondly, in a strange way it adds an extra element of challenge. You're no longer just starting with a block of text and looking for the end of each word. When the text appears with lots of the spaces and punctuation already there, you have to figure out which bits of text -- which may actually look like words -- are made up of more than one word.

You can fine tune urls when you share a link to a Space activity, and you can stipulate the number of words affected when you include Space as part of a sequence.

Here is an embedded example, about greenhouse gases, in French. 1 in 5 words are affected, so it only requires about 35 clicks to complete it (rather than about 180 previously) but it still requires the student to read the whole text, paying close attention to spellings etc.

(Edit: we've also now added a Hint button, which provides the next space, starting from the beginning of the text, but which affects the student's score.)

Text activity: Jumbled Words

Jumbled Words splits the text using full stops and line breaks. (Short sentences of fewer than 3 words are combined, and long sentences are split using other punctuation, where possible.) 

Students complete the activity by putting the words of each section of the text into the correct order.

See the embedded example below (the same resource as in the image above):

More options added for non roman-script languages

We've made a further 7 activities available to those making activities with character languages or languages which do not use roman-script...

On the Text side...

Anagrams, Invaders, Snake

You can now make an anagram-text activity (and print a worksheet), or play an invaders or snake game.

This means that the of the 32 text activities, the ones currently not supported for non roman script languages are the 5 "Fill in the letters" activities.

On the Match side...

Anagrams, Invaders, Snake, Maze

On the Match side, you now have the Anagrams activity (and worksheet) as well as the 3 games: Invaders, Snake and Maze.

So of the 30 match activities, the ones currently not supported for non roman script languages are the 5 "Fill in the letters" activities plus Hangman.

Some examples?

Months in Russian (Match: Maze):

Text re-construction activities: split text by sentence vs split text by word count.

You'll see that in the bottom left of the above screen image there are two option buttons: "Words" or "Sentences"

"Words" means that the text is divided in roughly equal-sized chunks based on the number of words. This has been the default setting until now, and it tends to create activities where:

  • each chunk of text is roughly equal in size
  • text chunks pay no attention to full stops or line breaks

Text-reconstruction of this kind forces the reader to look out for context clues such as grammar, word order, verb / adjective agreement, as well as the actual meaning of what they are reading. On the one hand, this type of activity can be challenging because the student has to know how the words fit together grammatically, but on the other hand it could be seen as less challenging in terms of understanding of the flow of the text or story.

"Sentences" means that textivate will attempt to break the text up into chunks which take account of line breaks and full stops, where possible. Of course, many of the activities are constrained by the number of tiles on the screen, so you will find that if your text has fewer sentences than there are tiles on a particular screen, the longer sentences will be divided. Likewise, if your text has more sentences than there are tiles, the smaller sentences will be combined.

This option doesn't make the same demands on students in terms of grammar -- they are not spending as much time in mid-sentence looking for the correct word to continue the sentence. They are spending more of their time looking at the meanings of the sentences and working out their order within the text or story.

Compare:

A tile activity divided by word chunks:

Drop-down boxes to replace +tiles and -tiles buttons

We've made a small change to the way that you navigate between some of the activities on textivate.

The +tiles and -tiles buttons have gone and have been replaced by a drop-down box (see the image below).

This makes it easier to navigate directly to the number of tiles that you want to see in your activity.

These changes have been made to the following screens on the text side:

Tiles (all), Horizontal, Paragraphs, Next Word, 50:50, Initials, Empty, Anagrams

...and the following screens on the Match side:

Shuffle Match, Switch Match, Click Match (all), Memory (all)

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Tabs on textivate

We've added 5 tabs to textivate, as shown above.

The idea behind this is to make it simpler, so that users no longer need to type all of their bizarrely formatted text into a single text box, taking care to put everything in the correct order. You can now add your data via the first 4 tabs -- Text, Match, Extras, Sequence -- and textivate automatically combines it into the "Show all" tab.

The "Show all" tab is the equivalent of the old-style textivate textbox. It is also the default open tab when you land on the index page.

Let's run through the 5 tabs in the order in which they appear, left to right:

Printing textivate worksheets in Internet Explorer

Previously, worksheet printing in IE didn't really work on textivate.

It's fixed now :0)

You now get the activity opening in a new screen, with a print button.

You can click the print button to print the content, OR right-click the page and choose "Print preview" if you want to change the margins, zoom etc and remove dates, headers, footers etc.

It works great on the versions of IE that I've tried it on.

The print preview feature with the zoom etc means you can get much more precise worksheets than you can even with Google Chrome!