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Quick Take: Take a closer look at the Adobe Flash 2020 Retirement:
1. What will happen
2. Dangers to teachers & other users of Flash
3. 5 R’s Strategy to transition

Adobe will retire its crown jewel Adobe Flash in 2020. The once ubiquitous Flash Player found in 98% of all Internet-connected desktops around the world will fade into its golden years at the end of 2020. Once used by almost every major tech company to create computer content Flash is being replaced by more modern and open platforms. At one time, Flash was THE pioneer and go-to program to create multimedia content, rich Internet applications, and streaming audio and video. Fast forward to 2017, Adobe announced its plan to no longer support its most popular success story.

Adobe Flash After 2020

Adobe Flash software after 2020

On January 1st, 2021 all applications using Flash will no longer find their programs being maintained. This means:
1. No bugs being fixed
2. No updates for operating systems and browsers
3. No new security patches
4. No more support
5. No new features or capabilities

The gap Flash made & its replacements

The retirement was a long time coming, an article on said, “there is no other program on the market right now that is more flawed and vulnerable to malware and other security threats than Adobe Flash Player.” McAfee recently reported that “Flash continues to offer attackers an exploitable collection of flaws for the immediate future.” CVE Details,a trusted source for security vulnerability data, identified hundreds of severe security vulnerabilities in Flash each year between 2015 and 2016. Even after the retirement announcement in 2017, CVE Details continued to report a large number of high to severe vulnerabilities found on the Flash platform.
To say that the Adobe Flash 2020 retirement will be a shock to many people would be an exaggeration. Well before the 2017 announcement, many of the big tech players already took the best capabilities and functionalities of Flash, and developed new platforms with better performance, improved battery life and increased security. The successor of Flash is today’s HTML5, WebGL, CSS, WebRTC, and WebAssembly.

Users beware, not developers

Although anything created in the last few years most likely was developed on one of the newer platforms, nonetheless the technology in your classrooms may not as up-to-date. Many teachers are still using EdTech that is generations behind other schools. Not every school can afford the newest and cutting-edge hardware and software for their classrooms. Some teachers just like using programs and courseware that they are accustomed to. This all contributes to the danger to the security and full functionality of classroom technologies in 2021. Many of the content, games, videos, and programs currently in use will no longer get any new Flash upgrades, security patches, and bug fixes.
For teachers who still use Flash-based technologies, every time the software runs, the Flash Player will continue to connect with Adobe updated or not. After 2020, the little pop-up window that normally reminds us to update will not be present. Additionally, many of the interactive functionality of these native apps that work on Flash will no longer function.
In our research, we found that around 50% of such native applications that allow content creation within the interactive displays utilize Flash still. A further 60% of legacy non-web-based lesson plans is also Flash-based even today. Those teachers who depend on these technologies are unsuspectedly walking into a trap.

Teachers: Prepare for the Adobe Flash 2020 retirement now

Not all teachers are tech-savvy enough to understand which of their software or applications are dependent on Flash. It will be vital to get your IT administrator to be involved to fully understand the scope of their EdTech. Teachers need to share with their IT administrators their courseware so together they can identify which was built to run on Flash. Many teachers may be surprised that their trusted interactive content, lesson plans, and games will no longer load or run after 2020. For those who use applications via a browser will especially find that their programs may be rendered completely unusable.

Solution providers with real answers

Outside help is sometimes needed to give schools a kick-start in the transition process. ViewSonic can aid you on this journey. Contact us today to begin developing your plan to prepare for the end of Flash.

The process of future-proofing your courseware

Everything starts with careful planning. Alone or with help, the transition cannot be done in days or even weeks. By planning now, your school can start to build an actionable timeline and implementation blueprint to successfully transition away from this legacy software.

Flash Strategy 2020

Here are our 5 questions and corresponding 5 R’s to start your strategy:

1. Is the course no longer being used?
Retired – Let these courses retire with Flash
2. Is the level of Flash usage or the course interactivity low?
Record – Think about recording the materials to MP4
3. Was the course published in a dual format — both Flash and HTML?
Republish – Update and save only on the newer format
4. Do you have the source files?
Rebuild – Use other software and tools to author new course materials
5. Does the content need to be updated or modernized?
Redesign – Consider rethinking things from the start and the capabilities of new platforms

Find more details on this process by downloading the full whitepaper: The End Of Flash – EdTech And E-learning Users Beware, where we explored the beginning, rise, and ultimate end of Flash. We also explained in detail how the end of life of Flash will effect on EdTech, EdTech professionals, and educators. Get your free download today.

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