Free Materials For Teachers

Image©2009 ABS Illustrates open instructions text box and button
This Text Box Shows And Then Hides
Many of the classic activities in Classroom Suite have a button with a speech balloon. Clicking this button gives the student audible instructions or directions about the assignment. I thought it would be even better to have the instructions visible as well as audible. This gives reinforcement to students who can hear, and makes the instructions accessible for students who cannot hear.

This trick would work best on a title or other page where you don’t also have IntelliMation®, but could be used with IntelliMation by adding one extra control. I’ll describe the easier situation first.

Why It Works
The trick works because IntelliMation really functions like a time machine. The timeline is a clock in the form of a ruler, with the main marks 1 second apart. You can move directly to a “future” time point and see the page with a different layout, such as a set of directions superimposed on the page. You can then jump back to time 0, and see the page the way it was before.

So to create visible directions, first set up everything else you want on the page. Double-check that it all works, because it’s easier to make the changes before anything involving IntelliMation is there. Then put your instructions in the future on the timeline. Here’s how!

Simple Time Travel

  • 1. Edit your Directions button, whether it’s a toolbar or page button, and remove the Speak Text action. Instead, add the following list of actions:

  • Set IntelliMation time to 1

    Select Object “Text Box”

    Read All

    Pause 1 second

    Set IntelliMation time to 0.

  • 2. Next, open the IntelliMation timeline. If this is the only thing you will be using it for, you can choose 1 second as the home for your instructions. Otherwise, see the alternate steps below. Click the 1 second mark now, and you will jump forward in time.

  • 3. Add a text box, and type in your instructions. Proof read it carefully, set it to Read Only text, and lock it in place. Use a solid background and a frame. This text box could, and maybe should, sit on top of and obscure much of the page.

  • 4. Click the 0 second mark again. Try out the button. The effect should be that the text box appears when the Directions button is clicked, reads out with highlighting, and then hides itself.

Note that in the list of actions above, it is assumed that you put the text box at 1 second, as suggested. Otherwise, the first instruction should set the IntelliMation time to whatever time mark you chose instead.

Visual Instructions PLUS IntelliMation on a Page
Now what if you need a normal IntelliMation on this page? Go ahead and create the animation and test that, as part of getting everything set up before creating the instructions.

Then choose some far-future time mark (23 seconds, 77 seconds, it doesn’t matter exactly which) that is well past your IntelliMation along the timeline, instead of putting the instructions text box at 1 second. This leaves you room to add more IntelliMation if needed, without having to dodge that text box.

Follow the same instructions as for simple time travel, but be sure you use the correct time mark number in the first action in your Directions button (the distant future time point you chose).

Keep the Instructions and Animation Separate

THEN make sure the button or page action that controls your IntelliMation uses the more advanced form of Play IntelliMation and Page Sound, and specifies the RANGE of your actual IntelliMation. That is, the action that turns on your animation should specify the actual beginning and end points of the animation (Play Range 0 to 5, for example) , not just say Play IntelliMation and Page Sound.

Otherwise, it will play right through past your animation and show the text box when you don’t intend it. For a nice workshop and tutorial on how to use Play Range, download Who’s in the Barn?

Oops! I Need to Change the Instructions!

If you need to edit the text box, open the timeline, go directly to the point where your text box lives, and edit as usual. Click back to 0 seconds when you close the timeline, and save as activity.

This tip is quite easy, but I’ve included a PDF version for you to download. You are welcome to use this as a handout in workshops and presentations!

Application needed: IntelliTools Classroom Suite, Acrobat Reader
Subject area: Building activities, IntelliMation.
Level: Author level.


VisibleInstructions.pdf (780 KB) Visible Instructions in ICS to print. Acrobat Reader.

Visible Instructionstutorial online Visible Instructions in ICS online, ready to present to groups.

January 17th, 2009 at 7:48 pm


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