infoAbout TextActivities

live_helpWhat is TextActivities?

TextActivities is a website for teachers and learners of languages. It is brought to you by the people behind (in reverse chronological order) SentenceBuilders, TeachVid, Textivate and TaskMagic.

TextActivities 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 here 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.

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

Those familiar with SentenceBuilders will find here many of the same classroom and school management tools, and a similar look and feel to the SentenceBuilders site.

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.

auto_fix_highThe concept: uUser-generated resources

The idea behind TextActivities is to allow teachers to generate a whole range of interactive activities based on any text of up to 500 words. The vast majority of these are automatically generated (i.e. no additional configuration is required beyond entering the text itself), with a few extra activities that can be added based on teacher-defined settings.

Similarly, teachers can automatically generate a whole range of vocab practice activities simply by inputting a list of up to 200 matching items.

And, crucially, teachers can create resources combining a text and a vocab list, so that all of these text and vocab activities can all exist within a single resource.

Text-to-speech (TTS) functionality turns text rebuild activities – such as reordering blocks of text, reordering words, separating words, filling gaps, writing out the text with various scaffold options – into a whole range of scaffolded dictation-like activities.

Adding a parallel L1 text adds the option to turn all of those text rebuild activities into a range of scaffolded translation activities. And if a resource has a parallel text or TTS, the teacher can decide whether or not / to which activities this is applied when they set an assignment.

TTS works with the vocab activities too, so that the same activity can work in multiple ways – translation into the L2, translation into the L1, listen and choose the correct L1, listen and select / write the L2 – all depending on the options that you choose.

TextActivities is a fantastic way of exploiting any short text and getting students engaging with the core structures and vocab that it contains. See this post on the TextActivities blog with TONS of examples of interactive activities (screenshots + live links) all based on a single short model text in French: "Exploiting a Model Text to the Max to Promote Productive Skills in MFL"

And see this post about the many ways that TextActivities can be used to create scaffolded dictation-like activities, to develop students' listening skills and reinforce sound / spelling links: "Dictation activities on TextActivities"

And of course, you can generate all sorts of printable content based on the content of your (or any) TextActivities resource. See this post about printing worksheets: "WORKSHEETS on TextActivities"

Add to all of the above the ability to create classes, set up students, set assignments with or without a resource preview – with all sorts of options per activity, e.g. passmarks, TTS, parallel text, assessment mode – as well as individual or team competitions, plus get detailed performance data in response to these assignments or competitions, and you have TextActivities in a nutshell :)

groupClasses: students, assignments, data, etc.

Teachers can create classes and set up user accounts for their students. Teachers have full access to their students' log-in information and can reset passwords, add and remove students, etc. The school admin can also do this for all classes that are part of their subscription.

Teachers can set assignments in their classes based on any resource to which they have access. Teachers can build their own assignments using any combination of the activities available for a particular resource, and by selecting from the various parameters available for each activity, such as whether or not to include a passmark, text-to-speech, a parallel text, etc.

By default, assignment activities require students to keep trying until they get an answer correct, so their score reflects the multiple attempts required to get it right. But assignment activities can also be set in "Assessment Mode", which means that the student's first interaction is always accepted (and the correct response immediately provided), giving a much clearer indication of how "correct" they actually were.

Teachers get in-depth step-by-step feedback on students' assignment performance, including total interactions, helped interactions, accuracy of interactions, % score, pass / fail. When a student repeats a particular activity – either because they failed to achieve the passmark or they just want to improve their score – you get information about these attempts too. Students can also attempt an entire assignment up to 3 times, and you can choose whether to view the average, the best score, or all attempts.

See this post on the TextActivities blog all about how assignments work, how they are set, assignment parameters, the student experience, and the feedback provided to teachers, etc.

If you're looking for something less formal than an assignment, you have the option of setting up class competitions based on any resource, where students compete for a place at the top of the leaderboard. Points scored reflect the number and accuracy of student interactions with the various activities. Competitions can be completely open, or the teacher can choose a specific focus so that only certain activities are available. Team competitions are also available, where students only see the overall team score, as well as their own contribution, while the teacher can see all individual contributions to the team totals.