ACORNS Overview

This software’s intent is to support tribal efforts to revitalize language and culture. The name ACORNS (ACquisition Of Restored Native Speech) is in honor of the tribes of Northern California where the acorn is sacred. Those tribes were instrumental in spawning this long term project.

Version 11.0 Enhancements and updates

  1. Modified the missing word lesson so that the user can customize the special key buttons used for their language
  2. Corrected keylayout incompatibilities for keylayout files generated by the Apple Ukelele program.

Version 10.01 Enhancements and updates

  1. Webpages made from lessons created with version 10 weere scalled too large.
  2. Webpages of Magnet Game lessons sometimes did not launch.

Version 10.0 Enhancements and updates

  1. Lessons with multiple pictures (Multiple Choice, Flash Cards, Pictionary, and Moving Pictures) have a new option where the user can exclude some of the pictures from particular layers of a lesson when they execute.
  2. Lessons with multiple pictures can now copy all the recorded audio from one layer to another.
  3. The audio dialog previously could not paste audio when nothing was previously recorded. This has been corrected.
  4. The setup panel layout in Picture and Sounds lessons has slightly been rearranged for a better appearance.
  5. When executing flash card lessons, the background sometimes was distorted when moving cards from one pile to another. This has been corrected.

Version 9.03-9.05 Enhancements and Updates

  1. Corrected a bug with category-based lessons (like magnet game) with multiple layers. When exporting to XML, only the audio for the first layer was successfully output.
  2. Updates were made so that the Acorns application could be available for downloads From Window and Apple store
  3. Upgrades to conform with the latest security standards
  4. Improved the look and feel on MacOS systems
  5. Changed the default folder for creating lessons from acornsFiles to Acorns. If you have a previous installation, the Acorns application will still recognize acornsFiles folder.
  6. Reduced the use of system resources. The previous versions would create files named acorns01.tmp, acorns02.tmp, etc. This version no longer does this.
  7. The MP4 to GIF option previously could only be run once during a user session. This has been fixed.
  8. The ability to embed keyboards was made more robust in the current version. It is now fully integrated with other ACORNS applications

Version 9.02 Enhancements and Updates

  1. Acorns setup mode contains a divider between the left side of the screen and the right. Clicking on the divider can eliminate or restore the visibility of the left side. Simply click on the < or > icons on the divider line to make this work.
  2. Fixed a problem when audio is dropped over an input dialog. Previously, that audio file remained in use until ACORNS was shut down. This unnecessary use of resources has been corrected.
  3. The two new lessons (Translate and Missing Word) had an issue where they would sometimes fail in play mode when switching between lessons. This problem has been fixed in this version.

Version 9.01 Enhancements and Updates

  1. ACORNS can now handle MAC-based keyboard layout files on Windows and other platforms. It automatically embeds and processes these layouts on mobile apps and Websites created by ACORNS
  2. A series of corrections were made to Story Book and Hear and Respond lessons. First, Story Book lessons can now be copied to create a Hear and Respond lesson (previously the copy could only go in the other direction). Next, there were problems with Hear and Respond lessons that had multiple layers. Occasionally, information associated with a layer could be lost. Additionally, it was made easier to modify the first annotation of a recording. Finally, annotations containing spaces are now properly highlighted during audio playbacks.
  3. The setup and background display did not properly display when creating lessons with multiple pictures when there were too many pictures to fit on the display.

Version 9.00 Enhancements

  1. Two more lesson types are included in this release. The first, Missing Word, plays a recording and displays a sentence randomly leaving out a word. The student is to type in the missing word. The second Translate lesson displays the words of a sentence displayed in scrambled fashion. The student touches or clicks to correctly form the sentence.
  2. Four lessons (Magnet Game, Missing Word, Translate, and Questions and Answers) are grouped together. This means one can use the lesson copy/paste facility to instantly create a lesson of a different type from the group.
  3. Two lessons (Story Book and Hear and Respond) are combined into the same category. This makes it easy to create a lesson as a Story Book and then use copy/paste to duplicate it as a Hear and Respond lesson.
  4. Corrected a problem where the positioning of dialogs appeared outside of the application frame on large displays
  5. Created an updated installer to conform with increased Apple security requirements
  6. Updated application file associations on Mac OS systems so ACORNS will automatically launch when clicking on a an ACORNS document file.
  7. A series of minor corrections was made to the ACORNS application (laptop, mobile app, and web versions). Various documentation clarifications are included.

Version 8.62 Correction

  1. Magnet Game - preserved font size when creating web page or tablet version

Version 8.61 Enhancements

  1. Corrected copy and paste operations between Hear/Respond and Story Book lessons to preserve line breaks.
  2. Sped up the audio playback Web/Mobile refresh rate on destop Hear and Respond, Story Book, and Hear and Click lessons. Previously, the refresh rate was browser dependent.
  3. Allowed scaling of the image portion of Story Book lessons instead of using a fixed size.
  4. Allowed magnet game Web/Mobile versions to execute even when there is no recorded audio.

Version 8.6 Enhancements

  1. Added the feature enabling copying Story Book Lessons and pasting them to Hear and Respond Lessons (and visa versa) .
  2. Sped up the audio playback refresh rate on destop Hear and Respond, Story Book, and Hear and Click lessons. Previously, words could be skipped in the playback.
  3. Corrected Story Book, Hear and Respond, and Hear and Click Web and mobile application playback positioning when there were no words or pictures configured at the end of the audio.
  4. Disabled editing in the scroll panel in Story Book play mode.
  5. Increaseed the Magnet Game default font size to better accommodate mobile devices with small displays.

Version 8.5 Enhancements

  1. Corrected the following bug. In version 8.4, after completing an audio copy and paste operation, if the pasted audio was re-recorded, it could be lost when the lesson is saved as a web-page or mobile application.
  2. The file export option dialog display was expanded to that the control buttons more clearly display on Mac systems.

Version 8.4 Enhancements

  1. ACORNS generated web-sites enable both touch and mouse event on laptop and desktop devices that support both
  2. Changing layers on lessons that support this feature no longer leave artifacts from the previous layer
  3. Corrected a bug which prevented new indegenous language fonts from being added or referenced
  4. ACORNS properly adds web-site extensions to user selected files where they were accidently left off

Version 8.3 Enhancements

  1. Web-site and Web-app creation generates output that is much smaller than the previous version
  2. Web-sites and Web-apps are now compatible with the most recent iPhone devices

Version 8.2 Enhancements

  1. Automatic embedding fonts into web and mobile applications without having to store them in the acornsFiles/Fonts directory.
  2. Improved the video support for users that want to create animated picture files (gif).
  3. The magnet game can handle sub-word units (morphemes).
  4. Font drop down menus now appear displaying the selections by applying their respective fonts to the output.
  5. Made recording more user friendly in that recording buttons turn red when active.
  6. Enabled loading JPG files with inconsistent color tables.
  7. We streamlined the internals of the Applications somewhat to improve efficiency.
  8. Bug fixed where the mobile and web versions of multiple choice lessons did not always load all the pictures.
  9. Bug fixed so mobile and web versions properly handle Unicode fonts using operating system key mapping.

Version 8.1 Enhancements

  1. An Apple-based Mobile Gallery application is now available. This required a few minor changes to the ACORNS application.
  2. The accuracy and performance of the speech recognition features have been enhanced
  3. Illegal file names (those with parentheses, spaces, percent, or asterisks) are handled in version 8.10 by replacing those characters with hyphens.


General Enhancements

  1. ACORNS implements language independent speech recognition. This feature is integrated with Hear and respond, and Question Answer lesson types. We intend to refine this implementation and provide updates as they are ready for distribution.
  2. The Hear and Respond lesson's replay option, outputs the audio corresponding to the missing word.
  3. We now provide an Android-based mobile player application. This application maintains a gallery of ACORNS lessons distributed through email, cloud-based storage facilities (like Drop Box), and through Web-site download links.
  4. ACORNS Web lessons are now compatible with the latest Internet Explorer browser.

Enhancements/Corrections to the Sound Editor

  1. Three sound editor panels instead of two in the stand alone program
  2. Corrected the option so users can change the default audio device
  3. Enable encoding of audio files to MP3

System Level Changes

  1. Changed the default picture format to .png instead of .jpg. This eliminates pixelization problems when repeatedly copying pictures.
  2. Eliminated the Web player option because of security issues with execution of Java Applets. ACORNS generated Web Pages now execute seamlessly on both desktop/laptop and mobile devices without using Java.

The ACORNS application is designed to work with any language and is easy to learn and use. It is freeware, and you can freely install the software on as many computers as you wish as long as it is not sold for profit. The author, Dan Harvey retains full copyright privileges, so please feel free to send your questions or comments to

Dan Harvey
Professor of Computer Science
Southern Oregon University