Microsoft Semblio is a new iteration of their development platform which utilises .NET and WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) and is specifically targeted towards the educational market.
Semblio can be used to create information rich, graphically engaging, immersive learning materials using a wide range of multimedia, all aimed at enhancing the learning experience for students (and indeed, the teaching experience for teachers!). As it is based on the .NET Framework:
“it works across software, services, and learning management systems.”
However, it isn’t just for developers. The Semblio assembly tool, which will ship with Office 2010, will:
“allow multiple content types to be combined into a single, rich, multimedia presentation, all in a single, familiar, and easy-to-use Microsoft Office-like application”
This has got something of a Web 2.0 “mashup” stle about it and will certainly be familiar and more engaging for students than more traditional methods. This next screenshot shows the kind of interactivity that can be expected:
Using the slider to increase/decrease the temperature and seeing the effects on the water…
This can either mean that schools will have the ability to create exciting learning materials in-house as well as making it easier for partners to create such materials too. You can:
- Increase the value of your content by enabling educators to customize materials to their specific requirements.
- Engage today’s students and foster exploratory learning with packaging and arrangement of dynamic, interactive, and rich instructional material.
- Improve efficiency during content creation by enabling nontechnical subject matter experts to participate in the content creation process
- Reduce the cost of going digital by creating your content once, then delivering it to all customers regardless of platform.
To me this looks like a great new addition to the Office suite of products and also a great addition to schools, for students and teachers alike. Having been on visits to various schools this year, it’s clear that they’re much more advanced that back in my day (!) and can sometimes rival corporations when it comes to technology adoption.
VLE’s (Virtual Learning Environments) such as Moodle, and products such as Sharepoint have made big changes to learning over the past few years; and I can see Semblio really making a mark. These interactive lesson modules delivered in Moodle accessed via Sharepoint would give a great experience for students at home/learning remotely.
I’d be interested to hear what people involved with Education think about this…be it students, teachers, IT managers, suppliers, coders etc :-)
If you want to get more in-depth, grab the programmer’s guide here.