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Microsoft Rolls Out Semblio SDK for Education Developers

Microsoft has released Semblio SDK version 1, a new tool for education developers that's designed to aid in the creation of interactive learning materials. The kit, part of what was previously known as "Grava" during its development phase, is now available as a free download.

As Microsoft described it in materials released Tuesday, Semblio comprises the "necessary tools for content professionals to create rich interactive learning material. The Microsoft Semblio SDK provides the APIs which enable the packaging and collating exploratory learning activities like simulations, animations, labs, e-books and more."

Semblio is built on .NET Framework 3.5 and incorporates programming interfaces and tools, as well as samples and documentation. The SDK is the first of three planned components that will also include an assembly tool and a media player. These three components will make up the "Semblio platform."

The Semblio SDK itself is aimed at education publishers and software developers, as well as vendors. According to Microsoft, several vendors and publishers in the education space have already begun using Semblio SDK, including Agilix Labs, Cambridge University Press, Cornelsen Publishing, Editis, the Educational Company of Ireland, Educational Testing Service, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, Intel Performance Learning Solutions (a unit of Intel), Leszynski Group, Smart Technologies, Wolfram Research and Young Digital Planet.

The second component in the platform, the assembly tool, is designed to allow educators to compile and package multimedia educational content. The third component in the planned rollout is the runtime media player. It's designed for end users -- educators and students -- and will be used to "view and interact with the lessons and presentations," according to Microsoft. The assembly tool and runtime media player will both be rolled out as components of the next version of Microsoft Office.

Semblio SDK version 1 is available now as a free download. It requires Vista, Server 2003, XP SP2 or XP Tablet PC Edition; Visual Studio 2008; .NET Framework 3.5; and Windows Update SDK for Vista. Further information can be found here.

About the Author

Dave Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters.

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