Monthly Archives: August 2010

Geek Dad – Enough ABC apps already

Geek Dad on Wired asks app developers to move beyond applications to teach basic literacy arguing that these are all very similar, often not well thought through and do not make use of the unique characteristics of the iphone and ipad.

This is indeed a useful and valid point, but it seem to me to miss the fact that there are a huge number of free flash based educational “apps” already available on the web that users of these devices cannot currently access. So app developers have an opportunity here to recreate some of these as apps and make a bit of money in the short term from those users who will pay to access otherwise free resources on their preferred device. Those app developers that really get to grips with the unique educational opportunities offered by these devices will have in my opinion a more valid reason to build a business model around selling educational apps.

Personally I feel like waiting for the non-apple tablets to appear which are likely to run flash before I throw my hat into this particular ring and I would advise any purchaser of mobile devices who has learning and education in mind to do the same.


Drawtivity authoring system now available for beta testing

I am very pleased to announce that the Drawtivity authoring system is now available for beta testing.  This means you can now create yourself an account and start creating and using your own Drawtivity activities.  I am looking for feedback on any and all aspects of the authoring process so please do have a go and let me know how it goes and how it could be improved!

To start go to the Drawtivity system home page and create a free authoring account.

Below is a short (5 minute) overview of the authoring process to help you get started.

Embedding Dragster 3 drag and drop activities into Adobe Captivate 5

Dragster 3 offers a great way to add drag and drop activities to e-learning resources created with Adobe Captivate. The process of embedding a Dragster 3 activity in Captivate involves a number of steps described below:

  1. Publish your Dragster 3 activity using the Embed activity publish option and extract the zipped files (more details on the Embed activity publish option).
  2. Create a new blank Captivate project. In this case I am choosing to use a project size that will fit a Dragster 3 landscape activity (1024 x 576).cap1
  3. Select the Captivate slide where you wish to add the Dragster activity. Use the Insert > Animation menu option.cap2
  4. Browse to and select the published Dragster 3 activity SWF file.cap3
  5. You may see a warning at this point about the version of actionscript. I have found that this warning can be ignored, so click Yes.cap4
  6. The outline of the Dragster activity will now appear on the slide. You will need to change two Captivate properties for this inserted activity in the right hand properties panel. Make sure the activity is selected on the slide, then expand the Timing box in the properties panel. Edit the display for a specific time and allocate the appropriate number of seconds.cap5
  7. Now expand the Transition box and select No transition. You have now finished inserting the Dragster activity.cap6
  8. Save your Captivate project. Once you have completed the other aspects of your resource, you are now ready to publish the project.
  9. Select the menu option File > Publish to display the Publish dialog. You can leave most of the publish settings in their default values, apart from one preference. Click the Preferences… button to reveal the preferences dialog.cap7
  10. On the preferences dialog on the Project > Publish settings page, Externalize resources list check the Animations option and click OK.
  11. Now publish the Captivate project. Once complete select No to Do you wish to view the output. There is one more step for you to complete before you can test your resource.cap8
  12. Open your published Captivate project files folder and the published Dragster activity files folder. Copy the SWF file and folder from the published Dragster activity into the published Captivate project files folder. Select Yes to replace the dragster SWF file already in this folder.cap9
  13. Now you can test your Captivate resource by opening the appropriate HTM file with your browser. An example Captivate resource created by following these steps is shown below (View this example Captivate).