I’m going to assume you can make files in Flash that can read from text files, but you don’t need to know anything about MS Excel. You could use any spreadsheet program such as OpenOffice Calc, but I’m going to talk about Excel for this article.

 

I teach English in Japan and have found flash to be great for drilling English topics and creating quizzes. I live in a small country town so most of my kids don’t have internet at home, or have limited 14.4 dialup (seriously). So if I want the kids to practice at home I have to make programs that read from text files, though I also use this process to make MySQL databases since some kids can use the internet. That will be part 2.

 

My quiz programs are simple and work from simple text files. One example is my ‘past tense’ quiz. I made a file with over 100 words (in Japanese) and then 4 possible spellings of the word in English, one of which being correct. Another example is ‘Many Much’. I have a list of about 250 things in English and students have to choose if they are countable or not and select ‘how many’ or ‘how much’. The latter requires 250 lines in a text file, with an ID, word, correct answer, wrong answer, even more if I gave an example sentence. I am far too lazy to type all of this out in the URL encoded format.

 

&word1=water&answer1=much&wrong1=many

&word2=English&answer2=much&wrong2=many

&word3=

 

It’s just too much for me, plus some of the entries seem to repeat and others seem to progressively increase. For situations like this where the data is similar and increments in a pattern, Excel can save you hours. Let’s get started.