Week 5 – HTML5

So about halfway through class on Tuesday night I got avalanched by the dreaded man cold and was subsequently laid out for Wednesday and Thursday.  When I got into work on Friday I got an email from IT warning me about something wrong with one of my department’s servers.  After working with IT for a few minutes we were able to figure out how to correct the issue and the internet is a slightly better place today for it.  My conversation with IT led to a strong suggestion in decommissioning our old server, an idea I have been toying with since I started this job in August which immediately got me thinking about all the apps, sites and learning objects currently being housed on this server, some of which are almost a decade old and still functioning perfectly (tip of the hat to my predecessors in this job).  Given the fact that technology moves incredibly quickly it is almost impossible to predict what learning objects, websites, apps will look like 6 months down the road let alone 5 or 10 years.  So this week I thought I would target my tool/tech of choice, HTML5.

Cost and Ease of Use

I found Chan’s (2011) Checklist for Evaluating Tech Tools, Apps, Software and Hardware extremely comprehensive and mentioned the two largest factors in my mind, cost and ease of use.  As I evaluate some of the legacy apps on my server I ask myself “why did the developer choose this tech when there are any number of technologies out there that could do the same thing in a way that is far easier to maintain?” Then I look at the date the app was published to the web and I get my answer, the tech I am thinking about simply wasn’t available at the time of creation and I am sure that whomever takes over my current job after I move on to something new will ask “what was Dave thinking when he did this?”.  As I get more and more ideas dropped off at my office I find myself constantly looking for the easiest tool to use.  

As a developer and self proclaimed lifelong learner and technology enthusiast I am eager to use new technologies so I can learn from them, but I have to remember that I am seldomly the end user of the tool I am building, hosting or showcasing.  A faculty member often times doesn’t care about what goes into the app, just as long as the finished product meets their needs and to be perfectly honest I don’t blame them.  I find fewer things more frustrating than when my tech isn’t working.  So not only am I looking for a tool that perhaps already exists but something that is easily troubleshooted as I am not on call 24/7 to fix every last little thing.  Perhaps this is the reason I turn to my institution’s LMS and simple webpages as a solution so frequently.  With only a few Google searches a dedicated person will be able to fix a good majority of HTML problems, at least the ones that one would encounter in a course housed within an LMS.

My Current Go To Tech

Over the past calendar year I have held two different developer jobs and gotten a lot of experience with both our LMS as well as HTML5 and some basic JavaScript.  This has allowed for some fairly exciting (at least to me) development opportunities within our LMS.  One of the reasons I am so invested in programming simple websites that are housed in our LMS is it is a technology I am completely comfortable with, but it is also portable.  Should we ever change to a different LMS we can simply port the html pages from our courses over to the new LMS.  Also because the programming is done in HTML5 the pages are easily accessible both to assistive technologies as well as accessible by any device that supports a modern browser.  Unlike some other technologies that have come and gone (anyone remember Flash? Me neither) HTML5 hits on numerous points on any digital tools checklist: it is free, it’s easy to update and maintain, its portable and accessible across every device that I know about.  All (2015) stated “A big part of HTML5’s appeal is the ability to produce Web apps that can run on any device, whether it’s a PC, a smartphone or a wearable like a smartwatch”.  As I see mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets become more and more popular in my teaching environment I believe teachers need tools that are not dependent on a specific piece of hardware or operating system.  What good is the best app in the world if it’s only available to half my students?

References

All, A. (2015, March 30). Mobile Apps: HTML5, Native or Both? Retrieved February 13, 2016, from http://www.enterpriseappstoday.com/management-software/mobile-apps-html5-native-or-both.html

Chan, S. (2011, April 4). Checklist for evaluating tech tools, apps, software, and hardware.  [Web log comment]. Retrieved February 13, 2016, from http://techpudding.com/2011/04/04/checklist-for-evaluating-technology-software-and-applications/

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2 thoughts on “Week 5 – HTML5

  1. Your post made me consider is it right if we choose one tool for students to use for a particular task? Is it good to teach them a vast array of tools and show them that their are faults and benefits to every program? I completely agree that their should be professional judgment as to which program but sometimes our students may be more knowledgeable about the software at times then we are. Is a professional someone who has gone to school with a focused learning on a specific area or is a professional someone who is knowledgeable? We as professionals must do our homework on the tools we use so we are choosing appropriate tools for the tasks we are asking our students to complete. The student centered approach will allow students to choose the tool they are feel applies best to the task that is being asked of them. Allowing students the opportunity to reflect on the tool after they finished an assignment is very important. This also provides great feedback for the educator!

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