What does flash have to do with it?

Image representing Produle as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

I was trying to figure out a very specific question today and I have been pretty much stumped ever since.

The question is this: Is there a free webtool that I can use to create interactive drag and drop activities to illustrate a point (The kind of stuff you would have a kid go up on a Smart Board for, where they drag something from one side of the screen into the correct category)?

So far I have come up with these not quite right solutions:

  1. Draggable – a Java Script library that allow for some pretty cool interactive objects on a site, but requires a pretty hefty familiarity with html and web servers.
  2. jClic – a Wonderful Java Webstart program that allows you to author and save a java application for drag and drop (and matching too) activities. This is specifically designed for the elearning crowd.
  3. Dragster – By far the most robust tool that I found, but it costs and it is more sophisticated than I would ever wish on someone who is just wrapping their head around wikis.

So, while I am still looking for an answer (I’m looking at you network), I will be playing with easily the coolest thing I found all day: Produle. Produle is an extremely easy to use interface for creating flash applications (without any programming). I couldn’t believe some of the stuff it would let you do, like add rss feeds, map buttons to data, and even publish your flash anywhere you would like.

While I have never liked the idea of having content trapped within a flash application, I think that it does make sense… it does have some uses. I had a great conversation with an online school colleague earlier this week, during which he said that there was no way that we were going to be able to compete with corporate elearning outfits because of their slick flash objects and project teams. Well, with something like Produle, I think we may have taken at least one feather out of their cap.

We need to be able to create learning objects of all types and share them across any learning management system. No matter how closed flash is, it is a universal format for the web. It can be played by any machine and any LMS. We would have to be pretty foolish not to at least use a freely available tool to create some decent content.

So, I guess my post has two purposes tonight.

  1. I want an answer to my original question.
  2. To ask this question too: What are the things that you have seen in other learning spaces that you would like to be able to do in your own? What is holding you back?
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