We just released a bunch of great updates to our collaborative platform. We are very excited to introduce you to our new Content Library and additional changes that will make your work in Project Pals easier and more efficient. Here are the highlights included in this release:
- We changed the Knowledge Library into a searchable Content Library that makes it easy to search, find and copy any content within the project.
- We are also introducing a grid mode toggle and snap to grid, which will make it easier for users to align objects on the workspace.
- From now on, any object removed from the workspace will be Archived and can be restored at any time.
- For those of you who are using our computational thinking tools, such as Components and Events, we condensed the display of components to six items with up and down arrows to see the rest, thus saving needed space on the workspace.
The Operations Palette
The operations palette is the launching pad for the operations that users can perform in the workspace. That includes search, text, media, components, events, analysis, annotations and relationships/drawing buttons. Each of these buttons activates their own specific actions by opening their editing boxes. The search button is an exception because it opens the Content library, allowing users to search for any stored content within the project. Our support article ‘How to use the workspace,’ provides a brief overview about the Operations palette and how to create content.
The Content Library
Every project that you or your students are producing becomes a repository of knowledge that until now was stored in the Knowledge Library. As information proliferated in a project, finding specific items became a tedious process of scrolling through mounting quantities of data, which many times was hard to achieve. In essence, the Knowledge library is a database and as such, it should be searchable. It became clear that we needed a way for users to search this huge trove of data and get results immediately. This led us to developing the Content library, which is activated by a search icon in our new Operations palette.
The new Content Library bears similarity to the old Knowledge Library with the exception that everything in it is searchable. The act of dropping content into the workspace is done by copying that item, thus making every dropped item a unique instance that can be edited without changing the original it copies. Storing information in the Content library is similar to the Knowledge library by categorizing it based on its type of information, such as textboxes, questions, components, events, and analyses. Unique to the Content library, information that was produced recently is stored under ‘Recent’ and as new information gets in, old information gets moved to one of the other categories based on its type. Each item in the Content library can be extended by pressing on its arrow on the right, allowing a full view of the entire content of that item and the buttons that enable copying it to the workspace and to another project. Each item in the Content library can also be copied to another project by pressing its ‘Copy to Another Project’ button, next to the ‘Copy to Workspace’ button. Our support article ‘How to use the Content library (search window)’ provides an overview of the functionality of the Content library.
Objects on the workspace are no longer removed but rather archived. That means that they are stored in the Archive, which can be accessed by pressing the search button in the Operations palette. That will open the Content library and by turning on the ‘Show Archived’ button on the top of the window, the Archive is revealed. Archived items are categorized the same way as the Content library. Items that have been recently archived will show up under the ‘Recent’ category and as new items come in, the old items get pushed to the category they belong to, which include: Textboxes, Questions, Components, Events and Analyses. The big benefit of archiving removed objects is that they can now be searched and that anything that was archived can be restored and used again if needed. Archived items can also be extended by using their arrow on the right, which also reveals the ‘Restore’ button, allowing the user to restore the item back to the workspace. Our support article ‘How to restore content’ provides an overview of the Archive functionality.
The Tools Palette
The Tools palette, the turquoise round button on the top right was discontinued. Its functionalities have been relocated to different locations on the workspace, as follows:
Relationships/Drawing tool palette was moved to the Operations palette
The Recycle Bin was discontinued because the Archive is now taking its place
Show comments is now activated by clicking the comment button of each object on the workspace
The Instructions Window
The instructions window is activated from a three line menu item placed on the top right corner of the workspace. That will open the instructions window on the right side of the workspace. The instructions window can stay open while students work on the workspace, allowing them to follow the instructions as they are working.
With this new release, we made Grid Mode into the default, to make it easier to align objects in the workspace. We also turned Grid Mode into a toggle, so that users can easily turn on and turn off grid mode. ‘Snap to Grid’ is an addition to Grid Mode, making it easier to snap objects to the grid.
The display of components on the workspace can occupy a lot of space. Especially when it has a large number of items. It can get out of control, not to mention out of the bounds of the workspace. We decided to improve this situation by limiting the number of items displayed at one time to six. The rest of the items can be scrolled through by using an up and down arrow. To see the entire text of each item, you need to hover over the item.
We have also created a project status drop-down menu in the Project Details window. Students can switch between ‘In Progress’ and ‘Finished’ status. Teachers also have access to the ‘Graded’ status option. The project tiles in ‘All Projects’ and in each class will display the project status.
There are two ways to access the project details window. One by selecting the three dots on the bottom right of the project tile and the other by clicking on the ‘Edit Details’ button in the dashboard.
We hope that these changes are going to be helpful and will make your work with Project Pals easier and more efficient. As always, we appreciate your feedback to continually improve our platform.