Monday, January 31, 2022

Build Talk or Type Educational Games on TinyTap

Disclosure: TinyTap is currently an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Throughout January I wrote about creating your own educational games with TinyTap’s web-based game creation tool. I’ve covered creating a basic identification game, making your games look good, and making puzzle games. To end the month, I’m going to dive into making a game that doesn’t rely on students tapping objects or dragging objects.

Talk or Type is a TinyTap game format that you can use to create educational games in which students provide input by typing or speaking in response to game prompts. This can be a great way to develop a game that involves cloze activities (AKA fill-in-the-blank), spelling games, and identification games. In fact, I’ll do all three of those things in the game that I’m creating today.

Creating a Talk or Type Game
The first thing that you need to know about creating a Talk or Type game is that in the web-based version of TinyTap’s game creator you can only use the Type mode. The Talk mode is supported on the iPad version. With that caveat out of the way, let’s start creating a game with TinyTap’s web-based game creator.

Like any other TinyTap game, the first step is to choose a topic for the game then build a title slide (watch this video or read this post for an overview of those steps). My game is going to be about woodland animals of North America. In the game I’ll have students spell some words, complete some sentences, and identify some animals.

For the first activity in my game about woodland animals of North America I’m going to have students write a response to the prompt, “what is the plural form of moose?” To create this activity I built a slide that has a picture of a moose on it (that’s easy to do thanks to the built-in image search in TinyTap). After adding the moose picture to the slide I then clicked on “Set Activity” and chose “Talk or Type.” Once I chose the activity type I was able to use the tracing tool to draw a text box next to the moose. It’s in that box that students will type their responses to my prompt.
After drawing the text box I then used the edit button (pencil icon on the tracing tool) to record an audio hint and enter the correct response. Finally, I recorded an audio prompt with my question, “what is the plural form of moose?” It is critically important to add an audio prompt because without it students won’t know what you want them to type. The audio recording tool is found when you click on the options (gear icon) on the Talk or Type editor. That’s where I recorded myself saying, “what is the plural form of moose?” See my screenshot below for clarification on where to find the audio recording tools for hints and prompts.
At this point it is a good idea to preview the game as students would see it. In the preview mode we’ll hear the recorded prompt and see the text box appear. We’ll also be able to enter an answer in the text box. Simply click the play icon to preview any game that you’re editing.
The first activity in my game asked students to simply type a response to my question. In the next activity I’m going to have students fill in the blank in a sentence that I’ve written on a slide. To do that I’ll use the same process as before but instead of drawing a text box next to the moose, I’ll draw a text box in the gap in a sentence that I type. Once the text box was drawn I simply repeated the steps I used in making the previous slide. I found that it was important to choose a font size and spacing that allows you to draw a text box without covering other parts of the sentence. Using the game preview is helpful in making sure the text box doesn’t cover any other parts of the sentence.
For the third activity in my game about woodland creatures of North America I’m going to ask students which of the animals pictured on a slide hibernate in the winter. The identification will be done by typing their answers into a text box at the top of the slide. To make this slide I’ll simply use the same style as my previous slides and utilize the integrated image search to find an image of a bear to go along with the image of the moose. Then I’ll select Talk or Type as my activity and draw a text box. Finally, I’ll record myself asking the question, “which of these animals hibernates in the winter?” Because students might type “bear” or “the bear” I’ll include both of those options in my answer key. That is done by putting a comma between the acceptable correct answers. In this case my answer key is written as bear, the bear. See my screenshot below for clarification.
More Ways to Use Talk or Type Games
In the game that I made today students entered one or two word answers, but you could create a game in which they have to write longer responses. For example, you could create a Jeopardy-style game in which they have to phrase their responses in the form of a question.

You can use TinyTap to create a game in which students simply listen to you say a word and they have to then spell it correctly. That’s easy to do because by default spelling counts in TinyTap Talk or Type games.

Even though I focused on games in which students write words, that doesn’t mean you can’t use TinyTap Talk or Type to create math games. Just take a look at this Christmas math game or this Count and Type game to see how the Talk or Type format can be used to develop fun math games for kids.

Try making a Talk or Type game on TinyTap today. It’s free to get started. And speaking of getting started, I created this new tutorial video to demonstrate everything that’s in this blog post.