Slideshow Module

Within WordPress, which is the framework for all class projects, one of the most important modules is the slideshow module. There are many slideshow plug-ins that work with WordPress, but there are two issues:

1.)    Educators are easily overwhelmed by the number of choices. There are so many options plus a significant learning curve to learn what all those options mean, it could take days to find what you need- even assuming it existed.
2.)    I have yet to find a slideshow optimized for the basic educational purposes a slideshow should provide. Everything non-commercial version I have found is missing at least one key component.

We have a very simple slideshow module built with Flash that will do what we believe is needed for an educational module. It is basic in features (it lacks fancy transitions), but it does have the needed functionality. In all of these modules, we want to focus on functionality first, and add fancy features later. Extensibility is a key part of all module creation.

Here are the basic features

1.    Keyboard based controls for desktops and laptops, as well as screen based controls to move back and forth through slides. Additional options, overlaid titles and onscreen navigation are toggled on and off using the spacebar (and could be toggled on and off from a menu item for tablets and smartphones). The interface for mobile needs
2.    Each slide can load an audio file. When the audio file is done playing, the next slide is shown. If there is no audio file assigned to that slide, then it uses a timer to transition between slides. There can also be a singular audio track that is played while all of the slides are being shown.
3.    Titles can come from either a text file or be pulled from the name of the file itself. The order of files can be managed by either a text list, or by numbering the files. If a file is named “1 Hybrid Rose” then it would be the first slide and the title would be Hybrid Rose.
4.    There needs to be an option to display additional text about the slide in an overlay that can be toggled on and off. The text comes from a text file.
5.    There needs to be a fullscreen option that displays the slideshow in full size, taking up the entire monitor and not just the browser. This option is currently available in Flash and in the Chrome and Firefox browsers using a built-in API that is a part of HTML5. It has not yet been widely adopted, yet.
6.    Initially, the slideshow will be focused on showing images, but in the long run it should be content agnostic. It should be able to display videos, other WordPress pages, and any other type of content we can think of.

What other features do you feel that a slideshow module will need to meet the needs of educators? Visit the slideshow forum to discuss this.

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