I really like widgets or apps or whatever you want to call those little discrete things you can pop into a web-page, VLE, blog, access on your phone etc. Over the last few years at CETIS we've been supporting developments in this area through various activities such as the widget working group, the current JISC DVLE programme and our widget bash earlier this year.
As I'm not a programmer I'm also always on the look out for easy (and preferably free) ways to make widgets. A couple of years ago I thought I had found the answer with Sproutbuilder, but hey-ho as is the way of things they changed their terms of service. As I really didn't do that much with it, it didn't seem worthwhile to pay for the service. So, over the past couple of years I've been really keen to see some kind of WYSIWYG widget builder funded. We didn't quite get there within the scope of the DVLE programme, however I'm delighted to report that the latest round of JISC LTIG grants includes the Widg@t project from the University of Teesside.
Building on the work of the ARC team's excellent WIDE project (one of the DVLE programme's rapid development projects), Widg@t aims to:
"explore, design, develop and evaluate a WIDGaT toolkit that will support the design, development and sharing of widgets by those directly involved in the teaching and support of disabled students
By engaging pedagogical and technical experts with our intended end users the objective is to produce a WIDGaT authoring tool that enables teachers or students to develop and share bespoke widgets."
I'm a really looking forward to seeing the developments and final output from this project and hopefully having fun building some widgets again. This time with an open source, W3C standards compliant tool:-) As I've commented before, it's also great to see a continuum of development from across JISC funding and to see pedagogic and technical developments truly working hand in hand.
The team are also looking for community involvement, so if you want to get involved please do contact them, details are on the project website.