The web is a constantly changing landscape. It can be difficult to keep up with the latest in technology advances and changes. Even those of us who literally spend their whole day working on technology are hard pressed to keep up with everything. Some of the changes that happen can be very frustrating. We are currently seeing a change that has the potential to frustrate a lot of educators.
Flash is a web technology that is being deprecated. Flash was developed by Adobe. Flash brought video and some interactivity to the web. However, it is a poorly executed technology that is rife with security issues. The security issues are so bad at this point, that even Adobe is abandoning Flash. Adobe has announced that they will end support by 2020. However, most browsers are not waiting until then to stop supporting Flash.
Famously, Apple refused to support Flash on the iPhone. This was because of the security issues with Flash. This also led to the development of better web technologies.
The problem arises because there are lots of different educational games and websites that use Flash. These are sites that were probably created many years ago. Many of them were pet projects, personal projects or college projects. These are generally free. The authors have little incentive to update the sites. A high proportion of these sites are math related.
Currently, browsers are starting to stop running the Flash plug in. Google Chrome is switching to an “enable” structure. This means that instead of the Flash media playing, the user must click an “enable” button on the page. If the media is not embedded, the end user won’t see an “enable” button at all. Soon, Chrome will not play Flash at all. MicroSoft doesn’t support Flash in their latest browser on Windows 10 at all.
This can lead to frustration for teachers and students since sites that they may have used in the past suddenly stop working. There is very little that we can do. Flash is going away.
The good news is that the web is constantly evolving. There are lots of other sites and options available. We have a couple of Technology Coaches who can help teachers create their material (and share with the district).