Two years ago, I wrote about the WERTi (Working with English Real Texts intelligently) system. At the time, WERTi could be used to search for any article on Reuters and then apply one of three activities to the page for either prepositions or determiners. The innovative (and intelligent) part of this process is that a nearly infinite number of tasks can be created and students can choose texts that interest them.
The WERTi system has now been rolled into a plugin for the Firefox browser. So now any page being viewed by your browser can have the same activities applied. Three new structures (gerunds, phrasal verbs, and wh-questions) have also been added.
For example, below, I did a search for a list of the most important questions in life and applied the “practice” activity to the “wh-questions”:
WERTi has taken each sentence and shuffled the words. By clicking (or typing) them in the box, the user can check to see if they have been put back into the original order. Green sentences have been reordered correctly while red boxes indicate they have not. The “?” can also be clicked to reveal the original sentence which appears in black.
They system is not 100% perfect. Occasionally structures are not labeled or are labeled incorrectly, but overall it does a very good job. Now that it’s part of my browser, I’ve been surfing with it turned on and getting lots of great ideas for how it could be used. Visit the download page to get more information about downloading and installing the plugin. This project is still being developed by Detmar Meurers and his team, so suggestions for additional constructions are welcome and may be added to new versions. If you think of some suggestions or find bugs, leave a comment below and I’ll pass them along to the development team.