Migrating from Adobe Flash to HTML5
There has been a great deal of debate among techies lately concerning which format is the better choice for website developers: Adobe Flash or HTML5. In a nutshell, Adobe Flash allows for a lot more animated transitions but requires a lot of storage space and isn’t compatible with most tablet and smart devices without a converter. HTML5 however, is very compatible with devices but lacks the animation capability of Adobe Flash. Fortunately for students and faculty at my Middle School, we’ve just installed a “guest” server and have recently become a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) School. Until this past February, the only devices students had access to in class were school MacBooks and eMacs located in computer labs or shared laptop carts.
Beginning last summer and continuing during the school year, I spent a great deal of time creating my interactive websites (flipsideinteractive.com and giftedcelestia.com) using blank Adobe Flash templates at wix.com . I initially chose the Flash format because I liked the “pop” and fun the flash animations added to the websites while also enhancing student engagement in the gamification process. However, now that 85% of my students are bringing in their own smart devices with them to class, I was faced with the somewhat difficult decision regarding the future of my interactive sites: Do I keep the Adobe Flash sites that I’d already invested so many hours developing and synchronizing with my curriculum, or should I start creating new sites from scratch in the HTML5 format so they could be more easily accessed at school or at home on a myriad of devices? Here are a few reasons why I decided to convert to HTML5:
1) Students can access HTML5 sites from any device, anywhere (no excuses).
2) All of the images I’d previously uploaded and used on the Flash sites are still accessible through my Wix account for use with any HTML5 template.
3) My school district is moving away from their previously mandated curriculum and into the national Common Core State Standards next year, so I’ll have to align the sites with a new curriculum and new resources next year anyway.
4) Even though I’d purchased domain names for the Flash sites, I can transfer them with very little effort to my new HTML5 sites.
5) Students can still take screen shots on their mobile devices and submit them as evidence of mastery just as they did with the Adobe Flash sites.
I decided to try my hand at the HTML5 template for my last Language Arts unit of the year (mythology/fairy tales/folktales), so you’ll notice that the new, HTML5 version of “Flipside” is currently the active site linked to flipsideinteractive.com. I’ve also taken advantage of feedback I’ve received from students, colleagues and friends and already changed a few things:
~ New look to the Arcade
~ New, non-animated icons to identify the Training Hut, Arcade, Item Shop, etc.
~ Some areas have limited access and are under construction
~ Since the Voki’s that give directions in the Item Shop, Training Hut, and Arcade require Flash I had to come up with a “work around” – I recorded them from the Voki website using a screen recorder (Screencast-O-matic) and uploaded them to YouTube. Now I can still share them using the video player on HTML5 website template.
~ The music used by the HTML5 Wix template uses Sound Cloud and I’m still learning how to comfortably adapt that element into the site, so at the time of this post, there are no sound effects on the new site.
I’ll be updating my blog during the summer and am hoping to be able to find time to record some screen casts of my HTML5 site development. As always, if you have any specific questions or feedback, feel free to contact me or leave a comment here.