An unexpected demo

If you are old enough, then you may remember text adventures and game books. And if you are a little younger, than you may know Escape Rooms or even have visited one. All of them can be really entertaining, and by tweaking H5P Branching Scenario just a little bit, you can use it to create your own adventures! Have a look!

What I customized

There was a need for new features at Technische Hochschule Lübeck, Germany. For some use cases, they required to allow going backards within a Branching Scenario. Well, that’s possible as you will have noticed in the demo content. You can even add a back button to each single content or branching question individually if you want to. The code is out there already.

The other feature that was required is an option to prevent progression to the next content until the current one has been “completed”. I put “completed” in quotes, because the notion of what completed means may vary from content to content. For now, it can be used for Video and Interactive video and will require the user to watch the last second before he or she can progress. Similarly, in Course Presentation, the final slide may have to be reached first. The code is out there, too.

Wait a minute, there was a Fill in the Blanks interaction, and you had to complete that as well in order to continue. Correct! I hacked it in there quickly. It’s not difficult to add this one or other content types and to make them insist on a successful completion, but it will require some free time and thorough testing by a third party ideally. I will attend an “OERcamp Werkstatt” early in November, which is kind of a hackathon for openly licensed content. Maybe some people will join for reviewing the code and beta-testing there.

Cup bearing the label "The adventure begins"

What you could do with it

So, what is it good for? You could create virtual adventures with Branching Scenario, obviously. If done well, I assume those might be a little more engaging than just presenting exercises to students. Also, letting students research things on the web to find an answer might be an interesting twist beyond recall questions.

But isn’t it a little boring to complete those adventures all on your own? No problem! Why don’t you design two (or more) adventures that are intertwined? Students would have to solve the puzzles on their own, but hints or solutions could be hidden within the adventures of other students. I am catching a glimpse of cooperative learning with H5P …

But isn’t it boring to stare at a screen all day? Well, feel free to integrate in into on-site settings and build your own educational escape room! In Germany, the hashtag #BreakoutEdu is used to hint to educational escape rooms, BTW. You could use a Branching Scenario as a mini quest only, it could be the guide throughout the whole adventure and require to find solutions to quizzes within the physical world, etc.

It’s your turn!

What do you like/dislike about the new features? What other ideas do you have for making good use of the new features? What other content types would you like to be included in Branching Scenario and why?

Please feel free to add a comment here or to join the discussion on Twitter using #h5p and #bs!

I was missing a C …

I have created five content types for H5P so far: Agamotto, Bingo (should be released shortly), Dictation, Essay and Juxtaposition. For some reason I noticed that those begin with A, B, D, E, and J — so it felt natural that my sixth content type should begin with a C to close one of the gaps 😉 Here it is …

Say hello to H5P Cornell Notes

I felt that the H5P content type family might need a new member that can help students with synthesizing and applying their knowledge. Well, that’s where Cornell notes may come in handy, and now you can provide a text, a video or an audio file that students can study and that they can attach their notes to directly. It’s not a spectacular content type, but hopefully you can put it to good use.

On this site, the available width for the content is small, so you will have to use the button in the upper left corner to toggle between the exercise and the notes. If the host system provides enough space or if you go to fullscreen mode on this page, both the exercise and the notes can be displayed next to each other — which is a little more convenient.

If you’re using H5P on your own system, the notes can be saved and retrieved later, of course. In order for this to work, users have to be logged in however, and H5P’s save content state feature has to be enabled.

It’s still a beta version, and some things may change, but feel free to download this content demo and upload it to your system in order to play around with it before the final version arrives. If you want to peek at the source code, you can find it on github, of course. It’s open source software.

I know there are some features that you may feel are missing … Stay tuned for some more info on that!

Videos in H5P Dialog Cards

Flash cards are a pretty common tool for learning languages. But what if you want to learn a sign language? I’ll tell you. Take a paper flash card and write down the word or phrase that you want to learn on one side. Now turn the flash card and put a video that shows how the word or phrase is “spoken” onto the other side. Wait a second …

Paper may have some shortcomings here. Luckily, there’s software that can help you out with digital flash cards that can handle audio and video as well. Alas! My beloved H5P offers a content type called Dialog Cards, but it cannot handle videos. Yet! Have a look at what feature I have just completed in my spare time …

Might not only be useful for sign language, but also for referee signals in sports, flag alphabets, tie knots, … Anything that could benefit from more dynamics than images can offer.

The feature seems to working, although I have not yet tested it on all major browsers and operating systems. Also, please don’t expect it to pop up in the official version of Dialog Cards within the next couple of days. First of all I don’t know if the feature will be accepted, and furthermore the H5P core team is very busy finishing other things and will probably not have time to do a code review soon.

Code: branch on github (until included in official version)

Credit where credit is due

Sure, H5P lists all the license information anyway, but why not mention here that the videos that I used were created by Henrike Maria Falke and are licensed under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 license?

I got the inspiration for adding the feature to H5P Dialog Cards from Sebastian Morr aka @blinry. He created a script that can pull resources from SignDict, a video dictionary for sign language, and automatically create flash card sets for the tool Anki.

Hmm, there’s no such script for H5P Dialog Cards yet … 😉