I’ve been writing this post for the last THREE DAYS. Did you know that you can’t have a blog with embedded Flash content if you’re using WordPress.com? As a matter of fact, you can’t do it with most mainstream blogging platforms. TypePad.com seems to be one of the only ones that allows it, but that’s a paid service, so it might not be for everyone. I’m partial to open source, so it wasn’t for me as long as there was an alternative.
Anyway, it’s taken me 3 days to finish this post because I’ve been researching what blogging platform to switch to – not an easy feat since I really like the WordPress.com interface and was looking forward to making it my home. But, after reading through its support forums (here and here) I realized that many people are in the same boat as me – people who want to use technology to connect with others BEYOND text-based communication – and either end up settling for not being able to incorporate Flash into their entries, or switch. I’ve had to switch – to WordPress.org. What’s the difference? Read about it here.
And speaking of reading, here’s that post I’ve been writing for three days!
I’m intimately familiar with the pressures of keeping up with cutting edge applications of technology. I didn’t think that I could be more in tune with this pressure until I moved to Silicon Valley where so many of the brilliant minds that develop innovative uses of available technologies collect in the numerous office complexes just down the street, around the corner and up the road from where I live. Now, not only do I feel that I have to keep up with fellow technologists, but I also feel that when I signed my lease to move here, I inherited some obscure self-imposed duty to not just be up-to-date but to be on the raiser’s edge of innovation as it happens. (Feeling I have the duty and actually doing it are two different things 😉 )
To be honest, I thought that living in California would seem different. I think I was expecting flying space crafts floating people to work – carbon free and totally Green space crafts of course! Instead, the roads look the same, the people still go grocery shopping and trees still grow toward the sky in this high-tech hub of Apples, and hard drives and intangible technologies that make venture capitalists millions (or break their banks – depends on the day).
Anyway, the point of my ramblings today is that there are lots and lots of totally phenomenal programs, tools, platforms, and ready-made vehicles just waiting to be used to make our lives easier, funner and more fulfilling. All we have to do is look for them…
but how do you search for something you don’t know about yet??
but how do you know when you find an answer to a question you didn’t know you had??
…pick the ones that best works to satisfy your needs…
but how do you do that when you didn’t know you were missing something in the first place…and…which one do you pick if only a small percentage will survive the incubation period and make it into mainstream culture??
…and revolutionize the way you perform your most common processes.
But…doesn’t that sound like a lot of work??!?
The questions in italics are still questions that I’m trying to figure out for myself. I know that they’re real, relevant questions with significant meanings. After all, the answers to them could change the way we think about technology, alter how we use it and update our expectations of it. Not only that, but they could also make the learning curve even steeper for those who are just starting to learn how to use a computer for the first time. That’s where us learning technologists come in!
One thing I want to do with this blog is to use it to share with you when I discover cool technologies that work for me, show examples of how they work, and invite other users to share they experiences.
So, that brings me to Sprout Builder. AMAZING!!! Have a look at their online demo if you haven’t heard about them yet. I’ve been using this online development tool for about a year now and it’s made my life easier and so much more colorful! From redesigning PowerPoint presentations for teachers and turning them into impressive flash presentations, to marketing materials, to online course content that makes up part of distance learning programs, I just keep finding new ways of using this tool! It’s really great because it makes content development SO easy. The interface is intuitive and there are so many things you can create with it.
What I’ve ended up with is an ever-growing portfolio of materials that I’ve already re-used, edited and improved upon many times over the last year. The only thing that could use some improvement with the tool is the way the designer saves and stores developed content. At the moment, there’s no way of keeping a backup on your own computer – it’s all stored on the SproutBuilder servers. They say they’re working on a solution. In the meantime, I’ll continue sprouting (conservatively)!
Here’s an example of a Sprout I created to help educators in the UK learn about the importance of copyright laws as they relate to online course development:
I’ll publish other Sprouts in future messages for those who are interested.
From: Virtually Scholastic