Manage classes and students for individual student log-ins and sequences which can be completed on multiple devices

The shared student password:

As explained in this blog post, students have always been able to log in to textivate using their teacher's username plus a shared student password. This allowed them to take part in Challenges, Sequences, etc.

One downside of this approach was that a Sequence had to be completed on the same device on which it was started. So a student who didn't finish a Sequence in class time would not be able to finish it at home (unless they took the device they used in class home with them...).

Also, because students were only required to identify themselves at the end of a Sequence, this meant that Sequence scores were only ever submitted for fully completed sequences.

NEW Individual student passwords:

If you click on the "Manage students / classes" icon (as shown in the image above), you'll see a screen which displays a list of all of your classes. You won't have any at first, so just click on the "+ New class" button...

Things to consider when making a textivate sequence...

Please note that this post was written before the arrival of individual student passwords on textivate. These now make it possible for students to complete a sequence in multiple sessions on multiple devices. With this in mind, many of the considerations regarding time available, devices available etc are no longer so important. That said, many of the points below address other important issues related to sequences, so it is still definitely worth a read.

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...)

Sequence? Challenge? What's the difference?

A challenge is not the same as a sequence. What's the difference?

Sequences

  • A sequence is a specific set of activities based on a particular resource (or on multiple resources).
  • A sequence requires students to complete only the specified activities AND in the order specified. 
  • You can set a 'pass mark' for activities within a sequence, so that a student needs to score, say, 90%, in order to pass on to the next activity in the sequence. 
  • A record of time taken, individual scores and the overall score is uploaded to textivate when a student successfully completes a sequence. 
  • Teachers can access student scores via the gradebook icon on the textivate home page. 
  • You create sequences for your resources via the "Sequence" tab on the textivate home page. 
  • A sequence is usually part of a textivate resource -- the sequence information is stored and uploaded as part of the resource itself.
  • See this blog post introducing sequences (and see also the links on that page to other posts related to sequences).
  • See this example of a sequence with 18 activities based on a text + match resource (a short text in French + vocab on the subject of "chez moi")

Challenges

  • A challenge can be based on several resources, or just on one resource.
  • Students can do any of the activities from any of the resources included in the challenge, in any order they like. 
  • Points are added to the scoreboard after each activity. Scoreboard points are based on how well the activity is completed, and more difficult activities score more points than easier ones. 
  • You create challenges via the challenge trophy icon on the textivate home page.
  • A challenge is completely separate from your other textivate resources. You can make changes to the challenge at any point without this affecting the resources themselves.
  • Students and teachers can access the scoreboard at any time.
  • See this blog post introducing challenges.
  • See this example of a challenge based on a text + match resource. It's the same short text in French + vocab on the subject of "chez moi" as used in the sequence example above.

Positive feedback regarding a recent blogpost :0)

I just wanted to share this with readers of this blog, because it made me smile :)

Following my blog post yesterday about creating a sequence of several (mostly sequencing) activities based on the same short story, with the activities gradually increasing in difficulty, and with the focus on speed AND accuracy... today I received the following email on the moretprs yahoo group email, from Ann Schroeder of Cincinnati, Ohio:

"I have been playing with the Moggin sequence that you sent (http://www.textivate.com/sequence-w4njn1). I teach German and know just enough Spanish (from TPRS conferences, of course!) to impress the students. I don't really know enough to actually read that text (maybe 60-70%). I tried the activities to see how much my German kids really have to *know* in order to complete the work (versus using quotes and punctuation to guess.) 

"The first couple were easy for me. Now, on the 3x5, I'm challenged, but I've seen the text enough times that it feels do-able. It's forcing me to look at the text more closely, distinguish between what the boy says and what the girl says, and understand the smaller words that I was originally able to ignore.

"IT'S BEAUTIFUL!!! It's exactly what I want to happen with my students! I can't say enough great things about textivate. And if you already subscribe, don't forget to browse the blog every once in a while for ideas like this. Fantastic!"

And then a little later, this:

"And an update: I just went to the Spanish teacher and retold a truncated version in Spanish during lunch! Yay!"

Really made my day :0)

Making a reading resource with multiple choice matching to check / reinforce comprehension.

This link opens the activity shown in the image above:
http://www.textivate.com/frames.php?ext=50069143432406z&res=m_1in4-50069143432406ze1

This is a cool way of checking and reinforcing understanding of key elements of a text. In this case it is a very short text, but the same principle could easily apply to any text.

What we have here is essentially a reading activity with a multiple choice matching activity. Note the following:

Reading activities with a time challenge?

Below is a link to a sequence of Spanish reading activities which start easy and get progressively harder. Each activity has to be passed with a fairly high score. All of the activities are based on the SAME text, so the content is repeated over and over. 

http://www.textivate.com/sequence-w4njn1

The overall score and total time spent are recorded by textivate if you are logged in as a student and you submit the sequence results at the end of the sequence, but you can just close the log-in box to try out the sequence. 

The point is that you could ask students to compete to complete the sequence in the quickest time - but ojo: if they don't complete an activity with a high enough score, they have to do it again, and this adds to their overall time.

Note that these particular activities have a parallel English text to help with the sequencing (and to reinforce the meaning of the text) - available by clicking the little text icon at the top-right of the screen.

If you think that this isn't a particularly stimulating story, I'd agree, but hopefully you get the idea about how you can do this sort of thing with your own stories - even with embedded readings. 

You can easily set these sorts of activities for class work if you have access to tech in class, or for homework (which you can easily make optional if you don't want to force students to do this or if you're concerned about access to tech at home).

(BTW - this resource was put together using the "multiple-resource sequence" procedure outlined here: http://textivate.posthaven.com/multiple-resources-sequences - this allows you to put together a sequence based on several textivate resources, although all of the activities in the above sequence are taken from the same resource.)

Multiple-resource sequences

This post explores a new feature in textivate sequences. (Don't know what a sequence is? Look here for starters.)

>> TRY THIS SEQUENCE <<

The above sequence (in French) is based on 9 separate resources, each one dealing with a different section of the same story. (It's a description of the action from a Simon's Cat video called Fly Guy -- the sequence is actually made up of all of the activities featured on this blog post.)

If you try out the sequence, you'll see that as you complete one activity and click on the "Next" button, you are taken to a different activity based on the next piece of text -- each piece of text is actually a separate textivate file.

So how is this done?

Well, the easiest way is to open textivate in 2 separate browser tabs: one with an empty text box so that you can create your sequence and one that you use to open resources and get the urls.

Start by typing the following into your empty "Show all" text box:

What are "protected" resources in textivate?

"Protected" resources are intended for these sorts of situations: 

  • you want to set a textivate activity but you don't want students to be able to access the resource on the textivate home page or access any of the other activities for the resource;
    or...
  • you want to set a textivate sequence as a test / assessment, so it's important that students can't access the source text.

Click the "protected" checkbox to add ###protected### to the top of your textivate resource in the "Show all" box (you won't see it in the "Text" box). This has the following result:

  • via the share icon, all links (and embed codes) for individual activities have a longer "scrambled" url with no reference to the original resource url
  • similarly, if your resource contains a sequence, the sequence link will also have a different type of "scrambled" url, with no reference to the resource url, so students can't open the original resource in a new tab or window

The idea is essentially to try to stop students getting access to the resource home page. (Note that links to the menu screen and the home page are not scrambled.)

N.B. If you are going to make a resource "protected", it is a good idea...

  • NOT to list your resource as a public resource -- make it shareable instead
  • NOT to give students a link to the home page or menu page for the resource to get the sequence link themselves -- this defeats the object of what you are trying to do

Is this a useful feature? See what you think...

Spanish, reading comprehension sequence

French, reading comprehension, single activity

EFL - PET reading test - single activity sequence

And in case you're wondering, yes, you can still use the url tweaks to modify the landing page for your students if linking to a single activity.

:0)

Related posts:

Introducing Sequences on textivate

More on textivate sequences

LIGHT - an embedded KS3 Science sequence of 10 activities

Chez moi (a textivate sequence = a substantial bit of homework)

How to submit work at the end of a textivate homework sequence

Resource preview option.

Sequences based on activities from more than one resource




Guided / scaffolded translation activities

There's a renewed focus on translation in Modern Languages teaching in the UK. The GCSE exam will soon include some form of translation to and from the target language. 

Exactly what form that will take remains to be seen, but I thought I'd put together a post on the ways textivate can be used to help create scaffolded translation activities -- with varying levels of support provided to the student.

This post focuses on translation into the target language, which is where I think textivate can be more useful.

Parallel texts

The parallel text feature of textivate allows you to specify an additional text to appear alongside the textivate exercises. (See this blog post for more details.)

If this parallel text is in English, it's a great way of providing structured translation practice.

And you can provide translation-type activities at various levels, ranging from putting chunks together to putting words together to filling in letters etc. See the examples below. The ones toward the end of the list are more like true translation activities.

LIGHT - an embedded KS3 Science sequence of 10 activities

This post features an activity sequence based on this text:

Light can be reflected from a shiny surface like a mirror. It can be made to change direction by the shiny surface. If a ray of light passes into an object with different density - like air to water, or air to glass, the light will also change direction, but this is called refraction. The light is slowed up as it passes into something which is more dense, like air to water, just like we go slower when we try to run through shallow water. The light bends towards the normal. Light speeds up when going from water to air, (from more dense objects into less dense objects). This will refract the light away from the normal. A prism refracts light rays and splits up white light into the colours of the spectrum - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

The text was provided by a KS3 Science teacher a few years ago, along with a whole load of other texts and lists of keywords which were used in a series of TaskMagic activities (they're still available to TaskMagic3 users now from here).