What's new in Textivate?

Well, there's a new version for a start :)

It's called TextActivities, and it is essentially Textivate 2.0, but with so many changes from the original that we had no option but to launch it as a totally separate website.

Those familiar with Textivate will recognise in TextActivities many of the activities and pedagogical features of Textivate, but delivered in a completely different way, with a totally new interface, a completely different approach to classes, school management, resource creation, student logins and assignments, and hopefully a much more intuitive work flow.

While our hope is that current Textivate users will value the many improvements and will want to migrate to TextActivities, the original Textivate will remain in place (although it is unlikely to be developed further).

Subscribers to TextActivities can import their Textivate resources onto the new platform one by one, as and when needed, even after their Textivate subscription has expired.

See this post on the TextActivities blog for a comprehensive list of the differences between TextActivities and Textivate.

Read on for a list of previous Textivate updates...

Sentence Scrambles in Textivate?

I often see people asking questions on Twitter or in Facebook groups about what tools are available to create "sentence scramble" or "unjumble the words" activities, and of course I tell anyone interested that you can do that, among many many other things, on

So let's have a quick look at the "sentence scramble" options available from one Text+Match resource (this one):

GAPFILL: I scored more than the target, so why can't I proceed to the next activity?

This blog post relates to SEQUENCES (assignments based on one or more activities, which can each have a pass mark).

I get a lot of people contacting me about this sort of issue in relation to the gapfill activity: a student has scored more than the target grade, so why won't it let them move on? 

Here are a couple of reasons why this happens...

Textivate says my score is too low, even though it's higher than the target. (Or is it...?)

"Textivate keeps asking me to do a sequence activity again because my score was too low, even though it was higher than the target..."

I get this sort of query a lot. Look at the image and you can see where the confusion arises: the student is told that the score is too low, because they only got 83%, and the target is 81%. But all isn't quite as it seems...

What is happening here is the following: textivate reduces the target score by 10% each time the student fails to reach the target score. This is so as to avoid a situation where a student is unable to pass an activity because of one little mistake.

It's actually there to help the student!! Without it, he would have to keep on trying until he got the initial target for that activity (which could be anywhere from 50% to 100%, depending on how it was set up by the teacher).

In the example in the image, the initial target was 90%. The student failed to meet the target, as he only got 83%. The target was then reduced by 10% to 81% for the next try. (If he failed to meet this target, it would be reduced again by 10%, this time to 73%, etc, etc.)

I hope this helps explain what's going on when you see this sort of thing. Remember, it's actually there to help the student.

And besides, more practice = more repetitions = better learning / acquisition :o)

Adding images to Textivate from Google Drive

Those familiar with textivate's more advanced features will be aware that you can set up image-based matching activities which match images with text items. They will also be aware that the images have to be hosted elsewhere (i.e. there's no facility to upload them to textivate...)

Until recently, our blog post / user-guide on adding images only listed 2 options for image hosting: IMGUR and DropBox.

Google Drive was never listed as an option because the share link that you typically get for files hosted on Google Drive is a link to a page containing the file rather than to the file itself. But I recently discovered (thanks to Dwight Hensler, of Haven of Peace Academy, Tanzania) that there is a way of getting a direct file link. Here's how...

1. Right-click the image in Google Drive and click on "Get link" (see below)

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.

Textivate Resource Management: An Overview

(Note that this user guide will not deal with the specifics of creating resources, as there are plenty of other user guides for those sorts of things. This one is more about the mechanics of the functionality of the Textivate home page.)

Textivate is like a text editor that is used to generate interactive resources. Imagine that it's being used to create files, just like a desktop version of Word or something like that.

Sound effects added to textivate activities

We've added some simple sound effects to Textivate activities !!

These will affect keyboard and click interactions, and we feel that they add to the textivate experience.

Sound effects are enabled by default. If you look at the top right of each activity screen you'll see a musical notation symbol which representes sounds. Enabled looks like this:

If you click on the musical note, you'll disable the sound effects, and your choice will be remembered in a browser cookie. Disabled looks like this:

That's all! Hope you like this small addition to textivate :o)