You can copy and paste any text up to 500 words into textivate and get, in return, multiple different exercises using that text, ranging from “scrambled sentences” to “Fill-in-the-blanks.” In fact, you can automatically try twenty-seven different variations. You can get a public url for it (it says you can also get an embed code, but it didn’t give me one). You can see what I did with it here.
It has the potential of being an incredible learning tool for both teachers to create online activities and for students to do the same (for their classmates to try). Creating all the exercises automatically is a great advantage, but it’s also it’s biggest disadvantage. It does everything automatically, and doesn’t let the creator use any kind of strategic thinking about, for example, where the sentences should be split-up so that there are clues to how it all fits together. Without being able to use that kind of metacognitive option, its potential as a learning tool is severely limited.
If, on the other hand, it kept all its automated features AND allowed creators to also make small changes in the activities that it generates (where some blanks go, etc., then it could be an extremely useful tool.
That’s what I like so much about LearnClick, the online cloze-making tool that I have used and my students have used to create clozes (fill-in-the gaps).
I’ll pass on this post to the textivate website, and hopefully they can add that feature at some point.
Thanks to Center for Applied Second Language Studies for the tip.