Microsoft has had an academic division for a long time. Some years it seems more active in producing material for schools and teachers than in others. I’ve had some experience working in this area. About six years ago I did some work producing a .NET Train the Trainer course for college professors. I also worked with Microsoft Press and University of Singapore to develop a .NET course around the same time.
There have been other Microsoft attempts to get .NET in academic classrooms over the past few years but today I want to talk about Semblio.
It appears that Microsoft is entering the academic content creation tool market. Semblio, released without much fanfare, is a WPF based content creation tool.
Using Microsoft Semblio, you can create rich, immersive multimedia learning material that’s highly interactive and fosters exploratory learning that teachers can customize, and that promotes collaboration. Because Semblio takes a platform approach to content creation—leveraging the flexibility of the Microsoft .NET Framework—it works across software, services, and learning management systems. This allows you to meet the demand for more customized solutions, while still providing you with control over how your material is adapted.
The Microsoft Semblio Software Development Kit (SDK) is built on Windows Presentation Foundation and provides a programming model and tools that facilitate the packaging and arrangement of .NET-based content such as:
- Semblio content elements, from simple buttons to highly complex activities
- Templates, wizards, and other supporting tools for use with the assembly tool
- Complete interactive courses
But Semblio is not just a developer tool; it will also include an assembly tool, released with the next version of Microsoft Office. This 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 for educators. Also included is a player that students and educators can use to view and interact with presentations.
This looks quite promising. I’ll have to download the SDK and learn more. So far I don’t see any licensing cost for using it.
You might have heard of this tool under another name. It was code-name Grava during the development phase.