This article is only an overview.
For more details - and instructional videos, click over to the Activity Builder section
To create an activity, first navigate to the relevant subject area and topic, as this is where your activity will be saved. For example, you may want to save your activity in a specific exam board.
Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Create button next to Create a new Activity.
Alternatively if you wish to create a new topic folder click the Create button next to Make a new Topic one level back in the folder hierarchy. You will then be prompted to name a topic folder where your activities will be saved.
Creating Your Activity
Each activity is composed of different screens. Several screen types are available and more will be added in due course (see later sections for details of each screen type). To add a screen, click the New Screen button at the top left of the Activity Builder and select the type of screen you want. Typically, the first screen in an activity will be an information screen describing the activity that follows. Once a screen is selected, the screen itself appears in the main part of the Activity Builder and can be filled in.
Saving Your Activity
To save an activity, click the Save button at the top of Activity Builder. You will be prompted to supply a name for your activity.
We strongly recommend that you frequently save your work when using Activity Builder to avoid losing work due to interruptions to your internet connection.
When a screen is added to an activity, an icon representing that screen type appears in the left-hand column of the Activity Builder. These screens can be reordered by clicking and dragging them into the desired position.
Screens can be deleted by clicking to select them and then clicking the Delete button at the top of the Activity Builder.
Existing screens can also be duplicated by clicking to select them and then clicking the Duplicate button at the top of the Activity Builder. This is useful when creating a number of similar screens with minor differences, e.g. when the same passage of text is being reused across multiple free-text screens.
Text can be entered in multiple places within the Activity Builder, e.g. on an information screen where it says Click to enter text, usually by clicking the area of the screen in question and typing in text. Selected text can usually be formatted to show bold, italic and underlined text using the controls at the top of the screen as you would in any word processing application. You can also adjust the size of the text by using the Bigger Text and Smaller Text buttons (these look like a letter T with up and down arrows respectively). Additionally it is possible to add symbols, for instance Greek letters or direction arrows to your text. To do this click the Insert Symbol button (which looks like the symbol π) and click the desired symbol from the grid displayed.
Images with the formats .jpg, .png and .gif can be uploaded to show on the right-hand side of screens within an activity once that activity has been saved. To do this, click the Picture button, then click the arrow next to the words Upload Picture. This will open a file selection dialogue box that allows you to locate the picture that you wish to upload. Note that the area available for images is limited to 305 pixels wide. Images larger than this will be shrunk to fit within this area. There is no maximum height for an image. Once you have uploaded an image, the Picture button will allow you to replace or remove that image should you wish to. Please note that only one image can be added on each screen in this position.
Images can also be uploaded within text boxes. To do this, place the cursor in the text box where you wish the image to appear and click the Upload Picture button as described above. These images can be moved or deleted by clicking on the image so that it becomes highlighted in blue. You can then press delete or drag the image to a different position in the text. Multiple images can be added within the same text box in this way. Similarly, you can add images as the answers to multiple choice or drag and drop questions using this function.
Each screen can have one sound file associated with it (only .mp3 and .ogg formats are accepted). To add an audio file to your saved activity, click the Upload Audio button (which resembles a speaker). In the resulting dialogue box, click the arrow next to the words Upload Audio. This will open a file selection dialogue box that allows you to locate the audio file that you wish to upload. Once you have uploaded an audio file, the Upload Audio button will allow you to replace or remove that file should you wish to.
YouTube videos can be linked to show on the right-hand side of screens within an activity once that activity has been saved. To do this, click the YouTube Video button, then enter the url for the video (e.g. www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1ymMaV3eFs) into the text box and click Insert. The video will appear on the right-hand side of the screen. Although the width of the video is shrunk to fit the available space, it can be played back full screen by clicking the Full Screen control on the YouTube player.
Hyperlinks can be added to text within a screen. To do this, highlight the text to be linked and click the Insert Link button (which resembles three links in a chain), then enter the url (e.g. www.samlearning.com) into the text box and click Insert. The text will now appear in blue and a hand will appear when you hover over it.
The information screen
This is a simple screen type that allows you to present a block of text (and images) to the learner.
The free-text answer screen
This screen type allows you to ask your learners an open-ended question, which they will answer by typing into a text area beneath the question. On completing the activity, learners will mark these screens themselves by comparing their answer to the criteria that you have identified at the bottom of the screen.
(This is the only question type which is not automatically marked - but teachers can review a learner's answers and marking for set tasks.)
The radio buttons screen
This screen type allows you to ask your learners a multiple-choice text-based question with a single correct answer. The learner selects the answer from a list of options and, if correct, is awarded the marks.
The check boxes screen
This screen type allows you to ask your learners a multiple-choice text-based question with a number of correct answers. The learner selects the answer/s from a list.
The Drag & Drop screen
This screen type allows you to ask your learners one or more multiple-choice text-based questions with a single correct answer. The learner selects the answer from a list of options, drags and drops it into the space provided.
You may preview your activity at any point by clicking the Preview button at the top of the Activity Builder. You can then browse your activity and see what a learner will see. Note that some information, e.g. grade, will not be shown as this only set up when the activity is published.
There are several steps required to publish an activity. First of all, you should save your activity (see above). Next click the Publish button. This will open the Publishing Options screen. Here you can select either the grades that you wish to be awarded for different percentage scores or, if you prefer, you can choose to show only the percentage score itself. In the case of the latter, simply select the check box next to the text, ‘Show percent score instead of the grade’.
Otherwise, to enable or disable a grade, click the check box next to that grade to the left of the grades table. If you wish, you can use custom grade labels instead by entering your text in the cell to the right of the grade.
To adjust the grade boundaries, click and drag the grade marker underneath the percentage line to the desired location. Note that while you can choose to leave out some grades, grades must always be in alphabetical order, e.g. you can have only grades A,B,C & F but A must always represent a better score than B, etc. Of course, if you have added custom grade labels it is these that the learner will see on completing the activity.
Once your grades are set, you can either save the activity for future editing or publish the activity. To do this, click the appropriate blue button at the bottom of the Publishing Options screen.
By default, when publishing activities they will be made available to all schools that subscribe to SAM Learning. However, if you do not wish other schools to use your activity you should select the option ‘Available to my school only’.
Some important points to remember about publishing activities:
Published activities are available to all teachers and learners within your school.
If the ‘Available to all schools’ option is selected, teachers within all other subscribing schools will be able to see the activity and select it for use in their school.
Once published, an activity cannot be edited further; you can, however, make a copy of your activity and edit that. See below.
Editing, Copying and Deleting Activities
Saved and published activities will appear in the Activity Explorer. Published activities will have a check box to their left that allows you to set them as a task.
When you roll your mouse over the name of your activity or an activity created by another teacher in your school, you will see three icons appear underneath it. From left to right, clicking these icons will allow you to:
Edit the activity - not available to published activities
Copy and edit the activity - always available
Delete the activity - not available when the activity was created by another teacher or when the activity is part of an active task, i.e. part of a learner’s homework.
Moving Your Activities
You can move your unpublished activities by selecting the Activities tab and then the Detailed button. Find your activity and then drag it from the right panel to a folder on the left panel. You will not be able to move it into to some folders; these will be greyed out as you are dragging.
Note: Unless you are an admin, you’ll only be able to move your own activities. Also, you can only move activities to another Teacher created folder or within an already available Topic.
Q: How can I rename my activity?
A: At the moment, you can’t. However if you copy and edit an activity (see above) and then save it, you will be able to save it with a new name. (And then delete the old version.)
Q: Can I set my activity as a homework task?
A: Yes. Tick the box to the left of your published activity in the Activity Explorer, click the Set Task button at the top of the Activity Explorer and follow the steps in the wizard to create your homework task.
Q: Will my learners get points in SAM World for completing my activities?
A: Yes, they will be awarded up to a maximum of 100 base points (depending on number and types of screens) and 50 bonus points as well as 15 minutes to their task hours for every activity they complete.
Q: Can I see a report showing the answers and scores that my learners have achieved with my activities when set as homework?
A: Yes. You can see details of their scores in the individual learner reports as well as in the set task reports which also show the actual answers given.
Q: Who has access to the activities I create?
A: Once you have published an activity, any learner at your school will be able to access it independently. The activity can also be set as a task by yourself or your colleagues. Additionally if the ‘Available to all schools’ option is selected when publishing, teachers within all other subscribing schools will be able to access it and subsequently choose for their learners to see it too.