Tips and Tricks: Customising Toolbars for Languages

Workbook’s Custom Toolbars take the clutter away from the page and make it far more friendly in the classroom. You need only add those Workbook tools which you know you’ll use in your language classes. Here are some strong suggestions:

Make sure you put a “select” arrow at each end of the toolbar – this saves a few kilometres of walking by the end of the day! You’ll find it in the “Customise Personal Toolbar” menu, under “Mode Select”.

Your pens and shapes: Include a set of commonly used ink pens, in different colours. A very thick highlighter is really useful as well. Remember to add an eraser of your preferred size: you’ll find these where you found the select arrow (above): under “Mode Select”.

Hide & Reveal tools: Another very helpful ink pen tool is a very thick pen in the background colour. This is useful for painting over items which you might want to later reveal in class by using an eraser to erase the paint. A variation on the background colour ink tool, is a background colour custom polygon. This is a shape, with fill and stroke colours set to your usual background colour. Using this tool you can “blank out” an irregular area of the screen very quickly by clicking the corners of the intended polygon.

Your tools: The next step is to add buttons to your toolbar for those commands which you will use most commonly in your languages classroom. To add these command buttons use the “Customise Personal Toolbar” menu, and look under “Internal Tools”. Just choose the ones you want! Here are some language-specific suggestions….:
ScreenAnnotateYou’ll want to place a “screen annotation” button on your languages toolbar. This will let you instantly jump to your desktop and hence to any other application, and use your Workbook pens to annotate over any relevant text or images etc (and snapshot save these back into the Workbook).
Many languages teachers like to use the spotlight tool in class to add focus to a particular part of the display.
It’s really helpful to add the “Insert Media” and …
… the “Resource Finder” buttons; these let you find and insert images and videos etc on the fly should this be appropriate.

Your folders: The next step is to insert quick-link buttons to folders in your computer or on your network, where you store your content for lessons. By accessing these folders from the toolbar during class, you will be able to drag-and-drop resources instantly onto your Workbook canvas. This is really helpful for creating instant activities with prepared collections of words, images, media, sounds etc.

Web shortcuts: Many languages teachers frequently use on-line lesson activities, which are much more convenient to reach in class through a single one-click shortcut off Workbook’s custom toolbar.

See the example on the left of a Custom Toolbar prepared for Languages. It’s possible now to remove most if not all of the other toolbars through the “View”>>”Toolbars” menu, as you won’t be needing them anymore!