Flash is an effective, efficient, and appealing tool for designing materials to meet the diverse needs of your learners, patrons, or clients.
Although Flash contains many great features for producing informational, instructional, and persuasive materials, three key elements stand out: Animation, Interaction, and Multimedia.
Animation. Movement is an effective way to communicate concepts, processes, procedures, and other ideas. The animation features of Flash allow developers to create engaging visual presentations.
Interaction. Rather than merely reading, watching, or listening, the interactive features of Flash allow developers to integrate dynamic functionality through questioning, feedback, branching, and user tools.
Multimedia. Enriching a Flash project with sounds, speech, music, graphics, scanned images, photographs, and video allows developers to reach varied interests and learning styles.
Explore A Dancer's Journal: Martha Graham from ArtsEdge, The Kennedy Arts Center.
Variety of Applications
The uses for Flash are limited only by the imagination. Below are some ideas to get you thinking about the possibilities.
Reasons for Use
Differentiate. The use of animation, interaction, and multimedia elements can accommodate the diverse needs and preferences of all ages. Flash allows you to use audio, visuals, and movement to convey ideas. In addition, it's possible to provide multiple examples, alternative perspectives, and varied speeds of presentation.
Engage. Flash can be used to design engaging materials that will motivate users. The combination of movement, multiple media, and interaction immerses users in a virtual experience.
Teach. Whether providing initial instruction or patient remediation, Flash can be used to develop effective instructional materials and learning environments.
Versatile. Flash can be used to create web pages, tutorials, games, simulations, and many other applications and tools.
Quality. Flash produces high-quality files that play well on all browsers and operating systems. They also print well.
Barriers to Use
Technology. Flash requires access to specific technology. As such, some end users may have difficulty accessing materials. For example, the Flash plug-ins are necessary. In addition, users may run into browser compatibility issues and slow download speeds. As such, an animated gif may make more sense for simple animations.
Ease of Use. Some end users have difficulty using technology-rich materials. Be sure to provide clear instructions to downloading the Flash Player plug-in. In addition, help should be provided for use of the project such as directions for using icons, navigation, and exiting the program.
Accessibility. The multimedia aspects of Flash can cause problems for some users with special needs. For example, Flash is not compatible with all assistive technology devices and web browsers. As a result, it's important to provide alternative text, descriptive captions, or other devices to ensure accessibility. For additional information about accessibility, go to our issues and Web Accessibility page.
Before jumping into the development of your own Flash projects, it's a good idea to explore the possibilities. Generally, you'll find Flash projects in two locations. First, many Flash projects are found online. They are either embedded in web pages or linked from web pages. Second, some projects are found on CDs and DVDs. They may be part of a larger project such as an electronic encyclopedia or a stand-alone software package such as an interactive book.
Most websites containing Flash projects provide directions and a link to the Adobe website.
Go to the Adobe Flash Player Support Center.
When searching for Flash projects, consider doing a Google search using your topic and adding the words .swf and flash. Also, if you're seeking a particular media type or sample files, consider Flash video or Flash sound.
Try It: Flash Project Exploration
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