Skip to main content

Textivate revisited

Textivate has been around for a while now, so I am having another look at it, having previously reviewed when it first came out around the summer of 2012.

If you are not familiar with the concept, you can create tasks such as jigsaw reading, gap fills, matching, re-ordering tasks, filling in letters and separating continuous text into words. Exercises can be stored online if you register, or stored "locally" on your own computer.

It is a further development of the original Fun with Texts programme from Camsoft which was the most popular text manipulation computer programme of its time in the early days of what was christened CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning). An Ofsted report from 2002 stated:  "Text manipulation packages are being used more often. (Fun with Texts) was originally designed for less sophisticated technology some ten years ago. This is still one of the most effective, particularly with able pupils, but also with the less able, including those with SEN".  In this context Textivate can also be seen as a legacy of the pioneering CALL work done by the late Graham Davies who set up Camsoft in 1982.

Textivate may not be revolutionary in that the exercise types are  familiar to anyone who has used Fun with Texts or Taskmagic, but this latest incarnation of the Fun with Texts is flexible, instantly accessible, easy on the eye and very functional.

It is a very useful tool for developing reading comprehension, grammar, written accuracy and vocabulary. It also has that great advantage of self-authoring tools in that you can adapt it precisely to the needs of your own class and instantly make it available on line for class or homework. In addition you can print off worksheets which can make homework setting very easy..

Whilst you can use Textivate resources created by others for free (if you have the URL), nearly all the benefits of using it come from three levels of paid subscription which make much more sense if you want to use it for classes. A student individual login allows a pupil to do what used to access resources, textivate "on the fly", save to their computer, but not not upload. What is, effectively, a whole school subscription costs £100 a year. This provides:
  • up to 1000 shared logins for students, with 10 teacher logins
  • up to 1000 resources storable in the cloud
  • you can embed your resources on a website, blog or wiki
  • upload public resources, which can be shared via a url or embedded in other web pages, or accessed via the public resource browser 
  • upload shareable resources, which can be shared via a url or embedded in other web pages, but are not visible in the public resource browser
In an era when there are probably too many gimmicky uses of ICT in MFL, this is a package which will stand the test of time, provide a good mental challenge and support any language course you can imagine. It appeals to the teacher who values analysis in language learning, but also provides good comprehension material which you can grade to the needs of your class. Crucially, it is a super time saver, being quick and easy to use, even for any technophobe teachers.

You can probably guess that I recommend it highly.

Try it here:

http://www.textivate.com

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

5 great zero preparation lesson ideas

When the pressure is on and there are only so many hours on the week, you need a repertoire of zero preparation go-to activities which promote input and/or practice. Here are five you might well find useful.

1. My weekend

We know that listening is the most important yet often neglected skill for language learning. It's also something some pupils find hard to do. To develop listening skill and provide tailored comprehensible input try this:

You tell the class you are going to recount what you did last weekend and that they have to make notes in English. The amount of detail you go into and the speed you go will depend on your class. Talk for about three minutes. If you spent the whole weekend marking, you can always make stuff up!

You then make some true or false (maybe not mentioned too) statements in the target language about what you said in your account. Class gives hands up (or no hands up) answers. This can then lead into a simple pair work task where pupils make up their own tru…

New GCSE resources on frenchteacher

As well as writing resources for the new A-levels, I have in recent months been posting a good range of materials to support the new GCSEs. First exams are not until 2018, but here is what you can find on the site in addition to the many other resources (grammar exercises, texts, video listening etc).

I shall not produce vocabulary lists since the exam board specifications now offer these, with translations.

Foundation Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Role-plays
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (2)
100 translation sentences into French (with answers)
Reading exam
Reading exam (2)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (Word)

Higher Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier)
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier) (2)
20 translations into French (with answers)
Reading exam (Higher tier)
How to write a good Higher Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a…

What teachers are saying about The Language Teacher Toolkit

"The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence." (Ernesto Macaro, Oxford University Department of Education)

"I absolutely love this book based on research and full of activities..  The best manual I've read so far. One of our PDs from the Australian Board of Studies recommended your book as an excellent resource.  I look forward to the conference here in Sydney." Michela Pezzi, Teacher, Australia, Facebook)

"Finally, a book for World Language teachers that provides practical ideas and strategies that can actually be used in the classroom, rather than dry rhetoric and theory that does little to inspire creativity in ways that are engaging for both students and teachers alike." (USA teacher, Amazon review)

Three AQA A-level courses compared

I've put together my three reviews of worthy A-level courses which you might be considering for next September. They are all very useful courses, but with significant differences. The traditional Hodder and OUP book-based courses differ in that the former comes in one chunky two year book, whilst OUP's comes in two parts, the first for AS or the first year of an A-level course. The Attitudes16 course by Steve Glover and Nathalie Kaddouri is based on an online platform from which you would download worksheets and share a logon with studenst who would do the interactive parts (Textivate and video work). The two text books are supported by interactive material (Kerboodle) or an e-text book.

Attitudes16





An excellent resource which should be competing for your attention at the moment is the Attitudes16 course which writers Steve Glover and Nathalie Kaddouri have been working on for some time. You can find it here at dolanguages.com, along with his excellent resources for film and li…

The Language Teacher Toolkit review

We were delighted to receive a review of The Language Teacher Toolkit from eminent applied linguist Ernesto Macaro from Oxford University. Macaro is a leader in the field of second language acquisition and applied linguistics. His main research interests are teacher-student interaction and language learning strategies pupils can use to improve their progress.

Here is Professor Macaro's review:
The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence. So for example the ‘methodological principles’ on page 11 are supported by the research they then refer to later in the book and this approach is very similar to the one that we (Ernesto Macaro, Suzanne Graham, Robert Woore) have adopted in our ‘consortium project’(http://pdcinmfl.com). The point i…