by Ted Perry

Call-A.P.P.L.E. Magazine
January 1980 V03N01 PP35-36

This is a progress report on the project reported upon in the July/August issue of CALL-A.P.P.L,E. As you probably recall from the original article, the Kyde Tyme Project and the CHIP Project arc computer assisted instruction grants funded by Title IV-C to develop computer assisted instruction on the Apple Microcomputer. Our tasks arc to develop a CAI author Language for the microcomputer; add graphics to the format that in the past used words only; and in addition develop some ‘stand alone’ teaching programs for the microcomputer.

At this time the “author language” is complete and running, and I would like to take some of the space of this issue to describe it and request constructive feedback. Our author language program consists of several parts:

    Allows the teacher to make use of the graphics library and combine graphic images with text for presentation to the student. The teacher also inputs the correct and incorrect answer» and feedback appropriate to each response. This program is utili zed only when writing a lesson.
    Presents the lesson screen to the student and allows a student to interact with the previously authored program. It brings together the text and graphics and presents them in an orderly fashion .
    Develops graphic images for the graphics library. It enables the author to quickly create new images, utilize portions of old images or combine images.
    A resource which is used when “authoring” a program. The teacher requests images from the graphics library and puts them into the lesson that is being written.
    Keeps track of student progress, does an analysis of student errors, and is actually a computerized lesson ·planner which enables the teacher to set up a sequence of lessons in an order that matches the individual needs of each student.

It is difficult to decide where to start in describing this multifaceted author language. Which comes first is hard to determine. Perhaps the best way to describe the authoring program is to invite you to look through my eyes as I write a single computer assisted instruction lesson.

After the authoring diskette is put into drive one and a graphics library diskette is put in drive two, the authoring program is booted. The prompt then asks me if I wish to work on an old lesson or add a new lesson. In this demonstration, I would like to create a lesson from scratch so I respond with an “A”, meaning “Add a new lesson”.

I am now confronted with the lesson characteristic page which asks me to determine the following:

  1. which area of the screen should be designated as the text window,
  2. whether I want upper and lower case or only upper case student input,
  3. what size and color of text, and
  4. how fast should text be presented.

I choose to make the lower 2/3 of the screen the text window and to make upper and lower case indistinguishable as the student presents it to the computer. I will print in large letters (double size) that are orange. I choose to have normal text and grsiphics as opposed to inverse and I would like the printing speed to be 225 (as fast as it can appear on the screen).

The computer then asks me if the lesson questions should be presented in random or sequential order as I enter them, and how many tries the student should have before the computer does not present that question again. I choose random presentation with three tries before the computer withdraws that question. I tell the computer to give the student the correct answer after two tries. (Actually, I made all these choices with two key strokes by using the default parameters I previously put in the program. These parameters can be easily changed.)

After printing “Next” on the computer, I am presented with a blank screen and the word “Image” at the bottom. The computer is asking me what graphic image I want. I can choose pictures from the graphic library to use in a lesson as I am building it. After typing the word “Tree” (which I know is on the graphics diskette}, the computer responds by displaying the colored image of the tree on the screen and I manipulate its position utilizing the paddles. I repeat this sequence for two more trees, a frog, witch, and a car. The upper third of my screen is filled with graphic images.

The computer then asks me “Label?” and gives me an opportunity to place labels on or near each of the images. I choose to label the witch and the car.
In the next step as I am waiting for the computer to respond, a sign across the screen says “Saving Graphics Portion”. After the diskette stops, the computer prints “Textual Portion” with a flashing cursor. I type as follows:

TEXT: There are several objects on the screen. How many do you see?”
RIGHT ANSWER : “5” or “Five”
FEEDBACK: “You really did a good job counting. Yes, there are 5 objects on the screen.”

Next the computer asks me for expected wrong answers. I respond with other expected wrong answers and give feedback.

FEEDBACK: “no, that is not correct. Please try again.”

Having finished with question one, the computer now gives me several choices. I may use the same graphics and add more text and questions or I may change the graphics as I add additional materials, or I can quit. I will add one more question in a shortened format, showing you only what I enter.

TEXT: “Some of the objects are trees. How many trees do you see on the screen?”
RIGHT ANSWER: “3” or “Three”
FEEDBACK: “Sure is hard to fool you.”

WRONG ANSWER : “4”, “5”, or “Four”, “Five”
FEEDBACK: all of them are trees.”

FEEDBACK: “I think you need to look again.”

At this point I choose to end my low-level development task and as I tell the computer I am finished, it saves the text questions to the diskette, asks me to give the lesson a name, category, and define the approximate grade level of usage. It also asks me to define author, date of development, and school or origin.

Upon completion of those tasks, I am asked for a 70 character description of the lesson. We have termed this short description a “one-line zinger!” i.e., Given several objects, the student will re-spond with the appropriate number in each sub-group.

Having completed authoring a two-question lesson, I proudly press RETURN and watch the computer combine the text, graphics, and demographic portions onto a diskette to be presented to the student.
Unable to contain myself, I must run the student diskette to see my masterpiece in action!

The computer presents me with the graphic images across the top of my screen and asks me the appropriate questions.

COMPUTER: “There are several objects on the screen. How many do you see?”
COMPUTER: “No, that is not correct. Please try again.”

COMPUTER: “Some of the objects are trees. How many trees do you see on the screen?”
COMPUTER: “Sure is hard to fool you.”

Pleased with the performance of the computer but not the quality of my curriculum, I turn off the computer and begin revising the article.

This article is meant to be an introduction to the workings of our multi-faceted author language. In the next article I will describe the workings of graphics author language which allows the development of graphic images. It has the capabilities of Hi-res line drawing and manipulation of Hi-res characters, shapes and images. Included are routines to fill irregular shapes with color and utilize graphic fonts.

We are nearing dissemination time. If you are interested, please write:

Ted Perry
2331 St. Marks Way
Sacramento, CA 95825

Geoff Zawolkow
California School for the Deaf
2601 Warring Street
Berkely, CA 94704

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