Wow! Sprout Builder looks neat

Bryan Murley just posted an entry on his Innovation in College Media blog about an interesting new web tool some of us should look at. If you like the ease of use of SoundSlides to add to presentation on your web sites, your students should also look at Sprout Builder at http://sproutbuilder.com.

Sprout Builder is “the quick and easy way for anyone to build, publish, and manage widgets, mini-sites, mashups, banners and more.”

Basically, like SoundSlides, it creates a Flash presentation project for you without you having to learn how to use Flash. The difference here is that Sprout Builder’s product is a multi-layered widget that can include video, audio, images and newsfeeds and choose from dozens of pre-built components and web services.

Once you create the product through the online site, copy the code and embed it into your web site.

How would you use this? Well, my beady little mind is just starting to turn this over, but the first project that comes to mind would be an interactive multimedia project for those community colleges going through the president hiring stages. Got three finalists? Include photos of them, videos of campus forums, biographies, resumes, etc.

Imagine what kind of package you could put together for a sports team? Photos, video, audio, stats of top athletes. Or build something that tells a bit about every team in an athletic conference.

Oooooo, just let me think a bit more. Nope. Have too many papers to grade first. M-u-s-t grade papers. Must n-o-t take time to be innovative.

Seriously, though, we’ve been talking about the next step in online publications to post first and publish later. If that is true, the step after that is to create original online content that blows print content out of the water. Tools like Soundslides and Sprout Builder can make you look like a pro without having to be a code junkie. You just have to be a good journalist.

JACC just introduced Team Feature 2.0 at its recent convention. TF2 is a contest that requires photographer and writer to work together to create a multimedia slide show feature story using SoundSlides. There is already talk about TF3: where still photos are replaced by video. With something like Sprout Builder, though, TF3 could instead leap frog into a true interactive online feature.

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