More than just a floor cleaner

After many hours of online tutorials, frantic emails to friends and colleagues, I finally produced a short, interactive clip using sound,  navigation buttons, external links and images.

In order to avoid any copyright problems, I used images that I personally created on a field trip to Fota Wildlife Gardens.   I also created my own sound files.

The target audience is young children.  Initially, the user simply sees an image ; when the user clicks the animal, text will scroll across the screen giving the name of the animal and an audio can be heard providing the name of the animal also.  The link button at the bottom middle of the screen links to an external web page where the user can find out more.    The user can navigate backward and forward through the images.

The aim of the clip is to educate a user regarding a small group of animals.   The user has the opportunity to guess the name of the animal and articulate some facts prior to clicking the link to find out more or clicking the image itself which will reveal the name by text and audio.

There is scope for expansion by adding in further animals or images using the same principles of text and audio.  I adhered to the Fleming Vark pedagogical principles.

Flash is interesting software with enormous potential – sometimes it is easier to begin with the end in mind.  In order to achieve this, I downloaded some editable templates to see what was possible and attempted to breakdown the layers and code behind them.

I had trouble importing sounds until I discovered that I had to convert to mp3 from wav and then I was able to import to the library.

My initial plan was to have a screen with four or five image of animals and a user would have to match text to the image.  I had difficulties with the animation and scripting behind this so my plan evolved into a more linear clip that can only be viewed in predefined order.

I am keen to explore Flash in the future.  I would like to explore its use as a tool for interactive quizzes and to create short animation clips for marketing and media promotions.

I found the online tutorials very useful as long as I worked through them in a systematic manner and remained focused on the task at hand.  Flash encompasses several new concepts including scripting, animation, layering and timelines – all of which are new to me.  Unlike Second Life, this is an area that I would be keen to continue exploring.

I used CodeAcademy, YouTube & Adobe online tutorials.   This was an exercise in constructionist learning.  The only way to learn this type of skill is to learn by doing, making the mistakes and learning the solutions.  It is often a painful and frustrating path but it allows a user to take ownership of the learning path.

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