Sproutbuilder - Grow your Own Widgets

Sproutbuilder is a platform that enables you to make your own flash widgets without knowing a scrap of code. It has an easy-to-use interface that enables you to drag, drop, resize, copy and paste elements on to your project, which can be any size from a micro button to a full webpage. These elements include buttons, text, shapes, images, audio, video (including Youtube clips), RSS feeds, Google forms, Polldaddy polls and more. Whats more, you can embed the sprouts just about anywhere: wikis, blogs (of course) Moodles, Facebook, Myspace, Netvibes etc. or just email them.

When it launched earlier this year I had a play around with it but didn't really have much of a purpose in mind when making my own sprouts. However, I started incorporating them into my wikis: Countdowns and slideshows mainly and when my school launched its Moodle recently I started to see the applications.

A standard Moodle looks pretty boring. 'Nineties in its outlook you might say. So I started using Sproutbuilder to add a little bling, some RSS feeds, slideshows and useful links at the top of every subject. Of late I have started using Sproutbuilder to make little interactive modules for the students. You can see these at a new blog that I have started called Edusprouts where I hope to be able to aggregate not just my sprouts, but the sprouts of other teaching professionals. Not all sprouts will be suitable, forms and countdowns will probably have little use outside the confines of the course that you build the sprouts for, but for general sprouts like the one I have included below, any (science) teacher could find a use. 

Down for everyone or just me?

With our ever-increasing reliance on internet based resources like wikis and blogs it becomes frustrating when the page just wont load. Is it a problem with the school's systems? My computer connection? Is the site down for some reason?

The easiest way to check is to use Downforeveryoneorjustme just type or paste in the address of your online resource and get independent confirmation like in the screenshot below:

The Whiteboard Challenge

Get over to the Whiteboard Challenge wiki and try your hand at one of the challenges being set for users of interactive whiteboards by teaching professionals.

Every two weeks a new challenge is being posted and participants are encouraged to blog about their exploits. What a great way to encourage both innovation and reflection in our practice.

There is a button that you can grab from my sidebar for your own blog or wiki in order to promote the event.