I really loved the chapter! I liked the illustrations too – they are minimalist but they work. The story is very good – I am anxious to read more. I read it on my computer and on my Ipad. For some reason, I couldn’t get it to read to me on the computer. Not sure why.
Now for my comments/suggestions:
I like the part with the cloud and a place for thoughts. I don’t like the X that appears because x is usually used when something is wrong. On the page where you have to match the picture with what they said, I think one character is the mother, but she is not introduced in the chapter. The questions are good. Will there be a time when you have the correct answers shown? Or were you trying to stay away from right and wrong with the open-ended questions. What are the points for? I liked the unscrambling of the words but I am not sure that challenged readers would, and I wasn’t sure how that correlated with comprehension.
Good luck as you continue with the project.
Thanks for your good comments and suggestions. Some of them are things we are already correcting. I agree about the “X” and you’re right about “correct answers.” We are trying to stay open-ended. Points – we’re hoping this will allow readers to accumulate points and then compare their point totals with other readers, much as they do in video games. I also agree about the word scramble. It’s more an example of a “game” type question, but we are open to many other suggestions about how to create questions that are engaging and challenge the readers to do critical thinking at the same time.
Your feedback is so valuable. Thanks for taking the time.
My husband is a programmer and he is impressed with what you’ve done so far. The simplicity of the pages is good. Your illustrations are great and the story is short and relevant. Open-ended questions are great for getting kids to think and make connections. My experience with open-ended questions is that kids tend not to trust them because they are used to getting points for being right. Some sort of explanation or feedback that explains there is no right answer, at first, might be a thought. Another experience I’ve had with open-ended questions is that without a strong motivator for choosing something that really matters to the reader, some kids will just pick anything just so they can get their point. Would it be possible to expect a justification for their answer, or would this add too much complexity? The idea of interacting with others about your answers is great! They may be enough.
One technical question…I wanted to go back and look at the story to confirm that my idea made sense, but I was unable (I was using chrome). Was this part of the plan?
Great ideas and questions. Thanks. I think you’ve hit upon a good point with the Q&A – will students answer just to get points? Perhaps they will, but given there are no “correct” answers to many of the questions, it would be tough to eliminate that issue. Any suggestions out there?
I enjoyed the story. I think middle school/junior high school students will find that it resonates with them both as the new kid ( or the student who doesn’t fit in) and as the bully type kids who give others a hard time. I thought it was a totally different premise, one which I haven’t seen before and I think it will interest readers who probably are working in this manner for the first time. It is user friendly which is important for struggling readers who are looking for reasons to give up because they cannot deal with the frustrations of reading. Yet it offers challenges which they might not even recognize as such..critical thinking, comparisons, inference, etc. That is a good thing. I think this premise will offer struggling readers an opportunity to enjoy reading maybe for the first time. You did a great job…Good luck!
Thanks for your comments. Hoping you’re right and that this will help some young people know the joy of reading a good book!
I love the story! It’s very engaging and I’d definitely like to know how it turns out.
In terms of feedback, I was wondering if the questions in the “Let’s discuss the story so far” sections might create the stress of taking a “test.” Would it be good to give them some positive reinforcement along the way?
Was all of the functionality supposed to be working? I ran into a few hiccups. I clicked on the open-ended questions expecting to see a space to write in responses. But the question text then seemed to move to the top of the page without giving me a space to type anything. (I did see the box for “I have my own idea,” which appeared to be separate from the open-ended questions.) On the word-scramble page, I could reposition the letters on all the words, except afraid. Towards the bottom of the last page, the text summarizing my answers was overlaid by the text describing the future Tiplitt features.
When the product goes ‘live,’ will the first couple of web pages explaining Tiplitt go away or be re-done? It looks like those are designed for marketing to investors or maybe educators. I’m assuming that a teen/young adult reader wouldn’t see those pages but instead would go to pages addressed to them as the reader. Is that right?
Good questions! I’ve learned, to my dismay, that technology “hiccups” are part of the Beta world. In the open-ended questions, there should have been drop-down choices listed which you could drag into the cloud. As one other commenter noted, the word scramble is fun but may not be the best type of question/game for this audience. I’m open to suggestions on that. On the live product, there will be introductory words for the reader on the website that will explain the Reading Companion and the various options available (text-to-speech, modified text). Basically, if you choose to have a companion join you, you will avail yourself of these reading supports. The basic premise is to give the reader choices based on his/her ability with a view towards comprehension – and especially enjoyment!
Congrats on getting this underway. I think it is really great. The aspect I find most engaging is the slight animations of the illustrations, and the pan effect you have scrolling across some of the scenes when the page is first turned. I find it’s a nice break in between reading the pages, to be able to see these brief, non-distracting animations. And it made me interested to read the words.
Thanks. The animations were a nice compromise from a budgetary standpoint. We wanted some movement to differentiate the product from just a plain, illustrated book, but regular animation is very expensive. This turned out to be even better because it’s not as distracting as full animation might be, but it still adds a little interest.
Terrific job! I like the story – very engaging and realistic!! It also sets up immediate suspense as to how this newbie will fit in — or not. The questions are also well-thought out. They are easy enough to answer but do require some higher level thinking. My only problem was in navigating the site and I’m not sure if that could just be me! I was able to click and drag the answers to the first two questions but then couldn’t get to the third question. When I clicked on “next”, the page showed the points earned in the cloud but told me I hadn’t answered several other questions but then I couldn’t navigate back to them. I found myself frustrated and ended up going back to the beginning of the story. I was also a little confused by one of the characters (I think it’s the mother) because I hadn’t “met ” her before so I ended up answering correctly but only from the process of elimination not because I really knew the answer. Finally, I am curious as to the significance of the “cloud points”. I think you mentioned in one of the other comments that they would be used as part of a game with other readers? Is that correct? Otherwise, excellent job and I wish you luck going forward with this as I think it’s a much needed product!!
No -isn’t you! There are navigation quirks in this Beta version that won’t be there in the final product. It’s so important that young readers don’t get frustrated with this product because they’ll just give up and move on. So we’re working very hard to find the right people to develop the full app! The mother must have fallen too hard through the cracks in the edit process. You’re the second comment about her not being a visible character. Will fix. The cloud points are going to be a way for readers to interact with one another, or just simply to be motivated to continue answering questions. The vision is to have readers compare points with other readers, or be rated in the “Tiplitt Stratosphere” by the number of points they accumulate. Ultimately, I’d love to have this be one big conversation among all the young readers who are using the app!
Love the story – and illustrations. It was difficult for me to see the advance button on each page…and when I wanted to go to the start of the story – it wasn’t at first obvious to me where the back button was. Also – when I was doing the discussions – I would have liked immediate feedback.
Nice work! Its UDL like! Thanks for letting me take a look.
There is a known problem we’re having with the page over-scanning on some browsers, which makes it difficult to see the advance arrows or the page numbers. Interesting about wanting immediate feedback! Will make a note of that!
I liked the pictures and the way they reflected what was happening in the story when they moved. I also liked that the story was broken down into small concepts that could be looked at individually. I like the story and feel it is relevant. I think the students would also be interested in non-fiction pieces about animals, weather, sports, etc.
I had a few issues when I tried to go on after answering the questions. There were times when there were skipped pages. Maybe numbering the pages would be helpful. Also when I answered one question with my own comment the next page had no picture. It was very cool that my comment went into the cloud though.
I also found that if you went back a page and all the questions were answered you had to go through that step again. I would prefer to skip it unless I wanted to look at an question and answer.
I never saw any indication of how many cloud points I earned. It seemed that the cloud bounced no matter what answer I picked. Will this be the case in the future or will there be “right” answers?
I had hoped that some of the technology quirks you’d mentioned were gone for good – but apparently not! These are issues of which we’re aware, but have not been able to completely fix for this Beta version. Glad you pointed them out!
You should have seen your total cloud points on the last page (another hiccup – haven’t had that happen yet!). But you’re correct – we’ll try not to have any “wrong” answers in the final version. The questions will be designed to guide the reader to understanding, so even though these particular questions sometimes have “right” or “wrong” choices, ultimately, we’d like to have as many open-ended options as possible. That’s the plan, anyway!
Thanks for taking the time to look at Tiplitt!
I like when the cloud bounces when you get a correct answer. Are there any incorrect answers? The cloud bounces and a checkmark appears for everything. I wonder if there would be a benefit to mark something incorrect. I guess it depends on your goals. If you want to assess the students’ learning about the story I think it would be necessary, but if it is just to engage them in the reading, I think just interacting with the question could be enough.
I don’t understand the cloud metaphor. It is kind of confusing especially when the little cloud button on the bottom bounces. What does that mean? Why are my points stored in a cloud?
I think the drag and drop functionality works well and is a great way for readers to interact.
I don’t understand the point of the “companion”. Is it just the voice of the narrator or will it provide any additional value?
I think as an MVP this one story is a great start! I definitely think you need more good content like this to make this successful. Maybe provide a way for teachers to make their own interactive lessons/stories? I think this should be your main focus moving forward.
Some questions to test:
Will teachers use this in the classroom?
Do students enjoy reading this way?
Does it influence their learning?
How will you get content?
Great questions and comments. Thanks. Will run through some responses:
~ I’ve thought a long time about right and wrong answers, and how I’d like this to seem less like a “reading comprehension test” and more of a fun way to think about the story. So at this point, there are no wrong answers.
~ Points are stored in a cloud for future use – much like your points would be stored if you’re playing a video game. The idea is to use them as an incentive to answer the questions and perhaps compare your number of points with other readers.
~ The companion is a way for students to choose extra help without really saying so. In the future, the choice of a companion will allow the text to be read aloud, and the story to be modified or abridged for challenged readers.
~ At this point, Tiplitt is not primarily an educational product, although it has a useful place in a classroom as an independent reading tool. The plan is to test the pilot and answer some of your good questions – especially, “Do students enjoy reading this way?” Stay tuned!
I tried the first “discuss this story” and put some things in the “cloud” and then the program got stuck. I clicked the next and previous arrows and nothing happened! I exited the program and started it again, and the same thing happened twice.
I am the parent of a 14 year old autistic boy going to high school next year. I’d love for him to read this and will have him give his feedback as well once it is working properly.
I understand it’s not as clear as it should be, but the way to turn the page after the questions is to press “continue.” Sorry for the frustration, but hope you’ll give it another try!
Great initial effort! I liked the plot twist at the end. Here are some other thoughts:
1. Occasionally I couldn’t navigate to a previous page: had to refresh the browser, which took me to the beginning and then start over. I used Chrome on a Mac.
2. Adding the words “next page” and “previous page” next to the arrows might help navigation if readers find it confusing.
3. There are minor discrepancies between the audio and text in several pages. E.g. on pg 6-7 the text says “I wasn’t a jock” but the audio says “I didn’t play sports”. Also sometimes the boy’s name is Jake and others Jason. Is this intentional? I’d think that someone with reading difficulties might find this confusing.
4. As someone else noted, one of the discussion sections had a character that wasn’t introduced yet.
5. In the word scramble, the last word (“lonely”) didn’t work.
6. I think simple drawings work but I’d make them a little nicer, like some comic books or graphic novels. Greater visual appeal will help you retain readers and get them to come back. Also, nearly all characters were white kids. I’d go for greater ethnic diversity.
Thanks for taking a look. Quirky technology glitches remain, much to my frustration! The audio mismatches and inconsistencies in naming were not intentional, but rather the result of many iterations of the app that didn’t always convert properly. All those will be corrected, but I appreciate your pointing them out. Great point about ethnic diversity!
This is nice.
We like it a lot.
There are many excellent features to this format.
Our suggestions focus on ideas to improve the great start here.
Here are our suggestions:
1. Read Aloud – Users should be able to click on paragraphs to have each one read individually; animations should act out each paragraph (small details moving).
2. Comprehension Questions, – Some of the questions are too standard; more novel approaches to comprehension might engage additional readers. i.e. take ten words from the page and write your own paragraph about something, make your own dialogue about something characters said, or choose your own adventure going forward (multiple strings of themes based on reader’s choices for characters), kind of like choosing Jake’s future in the cloud as you have it, but inside the story with different endings, just two or three different endings will help readers comprehend different options.
3. Animations – The drawn characters should do more actions in the illustrations or readers can click different areas on the picture to have other things happen or appear.
4. The Cloud – Do users have the option to upload an avatar image to identify with their profile? Can users chat with each other live online within the app? Is there a place to share personal stories that identify with the theme and characters presented? Are there site administrator benefits from earning a certain number of points? i.e. can the users who frequent the site and earn the most points become site contributors or moderators of some kind or help answer questions other users generate?
Your comments are absolutely visionary! Yes, this is the direction we hope this app will take, becoming a place where readers can actively participate by providing their own content and communicating with others. That will come in time. I’m hoping that this initial version will invite that kind of thinking, so that it will be a natural evolution. It has to happen in an organized way, however, since the challenged or reluctant reader is working with some restrictions. A story that can take many directions may prove confusing to some unless it’s presented in an orderly fashion that unfolds clearly. But it will be exciting to get to that point, since it will mean that we’re engaging readers in a way that makes them want to get further involved! Thanks for the great input:)
I liked the overall concept very much. The story has meaning with which students can relate, yet it is simply stated. I like the way the pages turn and the addition of the thought bubbles when a character is thinking. The audio is a great aid with the reading. I was wondering, however, if the individual words could be highlighted – or a “bouncing ball” added and synchronized with the audio; this way a connection could be made between what is heard and seen. Also, could a glossary be added at the end, or as a sidebar for individual pages? For example, students easily understand the words “sad” and “angry” from experience. Challenged readers may have a more difficult time understanding the subtleties of “depressed”. Obviously, not every page would require vocabulary for clarification or comprehension.
Frustrations I encountered working with the site:
1. During the 1st round of cloud questions, I couldn’t drag the answers to the cloud during the word scramble.
2. Sometimes the “previous” and “next” buttons were not visible or the corresponding arrows did not work.
3. I could not leave feedback/thoughts at pages 12-13 and at the end for comments
4. Could not scroll to the bottom of pages.
5. On pages 18-19 there was other print overlapping question #7 so I could neither read nor answer the question.
Best of luck with this clever endeavor.
Thanks for your great comments. Yes, the technology is frustrating in its present state. The problem with “beta” versions is that they’re often too “beta”!!!
Your ideas about highlighting individual words is a good one, and one we hope to institute. A glossary is an excellent idea too.
I appreciate your sticking with it despite the technology problems. Hopefully, they will all be resolved when we create the “real thing!”
I checked out your app on tiplitt.com. I think it is great! I would definitely like to use it with my older students. Love the layout and the comprehension questions placed periodically throughout the story. What I like most about your app is that it meets the need of older students who require developmentally simpler content that is also age appropriate. I think if you continue to provide age appropriate stories for the students age 12 and up with lower processing/academic abilities, you will be tapping into an untouched area. I have a very hard time finding materials for my older students. They tend to be interested in characters like “the wiggles” and “sesame street” and I have very few alternatives to peak their interest. My one recommendation for the app, which you might have thought of already, is an option to have the text highlighted as the story is read.
Yes, you’re right. We do hope to have the text highlighted for those who choose that option.
I have found the same lack of resource material for this audience. The goal here is to FINALLY provide age-appropriate reading material for a group that truly needs it!
I think Tiplitt will be a great resource once it’s out of Beta testing. The animations that accompanied the text provide just enough interest without being too distracting. I think that if the animations were expanded as another commenter suggested, it would take attention away from reading comprehension, which seems to be the whole point of Tiplitt.
I also like how the questions are open-ended because it helps guide readers thoughts on what is key to the story without saying there’s only one answer. It lets readers figure out why it’s key to the story for themselves. Reading is subjective and full of multiple answers, so it’s also great that you included a “I have my own idea” field for readers to type in their own answer.
When I first encountered the discussion questions, I thought the continue button would take me to the second question, but instead it took me out of the questions and back to the second section of the story. I did finish the questions by using the previous button to page back, but when I then clicked continue to return to the story, it skipped to the second page of the next second section because I’d already been on the first page at one point.
Obviously this is Beta, so the tech is still being worked out. I think it would be good to clarify what the continue button means by having it say “continue the story” or “back to the story” and having it always link to the first page of the next section. This will eliminate some confusion and frustration.
It would also be nice to be able to review previous pages of the story without having to go back into the discussion questions to continue.
Other people commented that they weren’t introduced to Jake’s mother, so matching her picture to what she would say was confusing. I didn’t think it was. I saw her in the animation thought bubble and her statement made it clear that she was starting a new job (which means it would be his mom that said it).
On the review of my answers to the discussion questions, the last question was covered up by text about the future plans/goals of Tiplitt, making it hard to review my answer and read about Tiplitt’s goals.
I think that Tiplitt will be a great resource for students with learning disabilities once it’s fully developed!
Thanks for your insightful comments! I appreciate your sensitivity about things like the animation and “I have my own idea.” They still have to be perfected, but the theory is just as you stated it. Sorry about the frustration with the technology. The page turning has been challenging since the outset, and I’m not sure about the reason for the overlapping text on the last page. Sometimes it appears and sometimes it doesn’t. As you so correctly point out, that’s the nature of a beta. Thanks for being so forgiving of its foibles!
I loved the story and the illustrations also. Reminds me of something I would have read back in the day 🙂 I wanted to know more!
Comments: (NOTE: My Chome is not up to date)
I liked that the questions were open ended, discussion prompters.
When I clicked “previous” while in the second thought cloud, it did not go back. I also don’t remember ever seeing his mom before, so I was confused with the thumbnail pictures of the characters. I think this was mentioned before though.
On the Review My Thoughts page, the last few questions and answers were all layered on top of one another.
The story was great and I liked the drag and drop into the cloud. I’m curious as to what Cloud Points are. Does that represent the number of questions you got right?
Other than that, I encountered no technical issues. I think it was a great story! I look forward to where tiplitt goes.
The cloud points are a “pat on the back” for participating and interacting. There are a number of questions that do not have correct answers; they are rather an invitation to do some critical thinking about the story and characters. It was interesting to note that when Tiplitt went through initial beta testing, special ed students were thrilled to have accumulated points just for the sake of having achieved that! Sorry for the technical issues – yes, there are bugs that crop up in some browsers in this beta version. Thanks for persevering and for your helpful comments.
I truly enjoyed the total experience! The rough verbiage is very straightforward,
conducive to easy comprehension for young adults. The only thing that I would suggest is that each question disappears after you answer it and that the cloud is cleared of previous answers, but that is mostly because I am a neatnik! I applaud you for having the patience and the drive to create such a valuable tool.
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