HyperCard Templates
for Language Learning


Claire Bradin Siskin cbsiskin@pitt.edu

The following files are templates created in HyperCard. As is, they aren't really language lessons. The idea is for language teachers to adapt them to suit their own purposes and the needs of their students.

What software do I need?

What do I need to know?

Important Tips

Copyright Information


The Templates:

Karaoke Conversation
What's Happening?
Ideas for Dictations
Simple Listening Tasks
Listening with advanced scripts
Listen and Record
Picture choice - fields go away

Picture choice - fields stay
Type your answer
Vocabulary Lesson
Two Choices

Software Evaluation Exercise:

HyperCard stack (165k)
Standalone application (2885k)
Handout (Word document)

What software do I need?

To modify these HyperCard stacks, you will need the full version of HyperCard. Some will work with HyperCard 2.0 or later, but for others, version 2.2 may be required.

What do I need to know?

You will not need to know how to do advanced programming, but you WILL need basic HyperCard skills. This includes knowing how to do the following:

Most language teachers who don't have any specialized knowledge of computer programming but who DO have basic Macintosh skills can learn to do all of the above in an afternoon.

If you don't know how to do the above, see the HyperCard for Language Learning page for books and websites where you can learn more about HyperCard.

Important Tips

Make a copy of each stack BEFORE you even open it! When you work with HyperCard and leave the program, all of the changes you made are automatically saved. So it is a good idea to always begin by making a copy of the original stack. Then you can work on the copy without worrying about the original.

How To Make A Copy Of A HyperCard Stack: From the Finder, click one time to select the icon of the stack. From the File menu, select "Duplicate." A copy of the stack will be made. You may want to change the name of the copy, but in any case, work in the copy -- not in the original stack.

More security notes: In some cases your students will record or type answers into the stack. Those changes may be saved inside the stack when they leave the lesson. Keep a master copy hidden away, and don't let students work with it! If you have a network, you might keep a "clean" copy on the server which each student can copy over onto the hard drive.

Text fields: Most of the text fields in these stacks are unlocked to make it easier for you to change the text. You may want to lock them before you give them to your students.

However, some of the text fields are locked because they can't be clicked on and hidden unless they are locked. These contain a special script so that you can press the option key, place the mouse over the field, and click the mouse. The field will be unlocked. You can then change the text and move the mouse outside the field. It will automatically become locked again.

Card scripts: In some cases, there are scripts in the cards which will hide or show fields and buttons automatically when the card is closed. In order to preserve these, be sure to copy the whole card instead of just the buttons and fields on a card. If you change the names of any fields are buttons on the card or add or delete these, you will have to make corresponding changes in the card script to ensure that the card "behaves" properly.

Audio Palette and sounds: In order to record or change sounds, the Audio Palette must be in the same folder as the Home stack.

If you try to record and aren't successful, check the appropriate Control Panel, which is called "Sound" or "Monitors and Sound" depending on which operating system you have. Make sure that "sound in" is set to "microphone."

In order to hear long sounds, you might have to increase the memory allocation of the HyperCard program. Quit from HyperCard, select the program, and select "Get Info" from the "File" menu. Change the "preferred size" to about 4000 or 5000. If you still can't hear the sound, make sure that other programs are not taking up the memory (RAM). To do this, Quit from any other programs that might be running.

The Templates:

Two Choices Download (59K)

A simple multiple-choice exercise which offers 2 choices. Of course, it can be modified to work with 3 or 4 choices.

What's Happening? Download (46K)

Look at the picture and select the action which describes what is going on.

Ideas for Dictations Download (288K)

Have students listen to a recording and write what they hear. This can be checked in a variety of ways.

Simple Listening Tasks Download (255K)

Students listen to a task, which directs them to drag an icon to a different part of the screen.

Listening with advanced scripts Download (377K)

This stack may be the most difficult to adapt, and you may need help with the scripts. But it's probably the most fun for students!

Listen and Record Download (216K)

Simple directions for using the Audio Palette. Teachers can record sounds in the stack, which students can then hear, record their own sound, and compare.

Picture choice - fields go away Download (45K)

Students are asked to click on a picture. The "fieldback" field disappears when they release the mouse.

Picture choice - fields stay Download (43K)

Students are asked to click on a picture. When they release the mouse, the "fieldback" field stays on the screen.

Type your answer Download (64K)

HyperCard isn't very good at judging text -- at least not without complicated scripting. Here are some low-tech ways of having students type an answer and getting some feedback on their answer.

Vocabulary Lesson Download (66K)

TOEFL-type multiple choice vocabulary items. Individual feedback given for each answer. Students can see the related word forms for each word. Traditional, but students love it.

Karaoke Conversation Download (463K)

Many CALL exercises permit learners to listen to a dialog, hear it line by line, record and play back their voices, and read the corresponding lines of text. Karaoke Conversation is an attempt to permit the student to "enter" the conversation. The student chooses a character from the dialog and records that part. When the entire dialog is played back, the learner's voice is substituted for that role only -- thus simulating a "real" conversation with other native speakers. There is also the option of listening to the original dialog for comparison.


Directions: The CTW Mellon Technical Specialists, Emmanuel Paris-Bouvret, Marisa Castagno, and Steven Smolnik, have created "Using Karaoke Conversation," which provides step-by step instructions for modifying the conversation.


Copyright Information

The stacks are copyrighted by Claire Bradin Siskin in various years which are indicated in the individual stacks. They are freeware and may be copied and modified for non-commercial use by teachers and their students.


My husband Marc Siskin is an accomplished multimedia desgner. I am most grateful to him for patiently listening to my ideas and finding the scripts to make them happen. He also assisted with trouble-shooting and design layout. I could never have gone this far with HyperCard without him.

Many thanks to the talented TESOL graduate students at Michigan State University who recorded the voices in the "Karaoke Conversation" dialog: David Krise, Kristen Danek, and Beth Queeney.

Thanks also to Gary Cook of the English Language Center, Michigan State University, for recording the sounds in the "Listen and Record" stack.


Back to the HyperCard for Language Learning page

Back to Claire Bradin Siskin's page

Templates for Language Learning: http://www.edvista.com/claire/hypercard/templates.html

Last updated: April 7, 2002