A new way of delivering content... This weekend sees a small change to www.roythezebra.com but with a big impact - I’m excited to announce a new Reading Software service where users will be able to download bundles of games to their desktop as software... it means you won’t need the internet or a web browser to access these new games (internet needed to download). The main benefit is that it completely removes the risk involved around planning a lesson where an internet-based resource is used (i.e. internet safety, internet connection issues, possible but rare website failure).
The first wave of games to be delivered in this way focus on Long Vowel Phonemes and come with hundreds of worksheets, resources plus two lesson plans for each long vowel phoneme. To run the games from your desktop you’ll need Adobe AIR installed - it’s a new free product from Adobe - think of it like Flash Player but for your desktop. Don’t worry about installing it - it’s done whilst downloading the games. It’s a brilliant product from Adobe and opens up a world of opportunity for everyone. Visit the Adobe marketplace to view some other applications / software available.
All NEW content from now will be built to be delivered via Adobe AIR.
For this new service I’ve decided to add a small charge for the reasons outlined below (Please note: only the new long vowel Mango games, plus any new content from now will be charged for, other older resources remain free and accessible):
To support future development:
Each game developed for the site now involves a huge amount of time - for example; the new Mango games have taken 3 to 4 months to build, plus 1 year of reading and learning the new skills required (the programming language for Flash has evolved tremendously, it has now become a full Object Oriented Programming (OOP) language - in sum I’ve had to hit the coding books full on and grow a double double super super strength brain - I can tell you getting my head around ActionScript 3 has been an emotional voyage!!). This time needs to be funded somehow... I have another job which has paid for the initial development and balancing the two has been extremely difficult, I’ve sacrificed weekends, holidays and evenings to get the site where it is today... it’s been enjoyable and I’m not looking for sympathy (it’s my choice!!) but the long-term survival of the site depends on me being able to keep up this pace - clearly unrealistic... especially if I want to do all the other things people do when in their thirties... relationships, starting family etc etc...
Traffic to the site has now grown to massive proportions - more than 80,000 teachers visit the site monthly downloading well over half a million pages - this is brilliant, exactly why I built the site - thank you for coming. However, the site is hosted by a third party and I’ve been recently clobbered by extra hosting charges - since I’m not funded by any means these charges come out of my pocket... which is fine in the short-term... but not any good for the long-term since they are going to keep on growing! The money made from the online store and advertising is very minimal...
I had a dream... that we could all pull together and pay a very small amount each to support the costs of the site (less than £1 or $1 per school per year would have been fine). It didn’t happen, that’s OK, I don’t mind, now I need to plan around this not happening. A BIG thank you to the 7 donators that did...
So the conclusion has been to add a small charge to the new content - older content will remain free and totally accessible as it has been for the last 4 years - I hope this is understandable. I’m also very happy to give the software to schools in poor countries - please write to me at email@example.com - telling me where your school is and perhaps sending me a picture of it... please note this offer is only for schools in the poorest countries, e.g. Burkina, Mali, Tanzania, Chad, Nepal and so on...
I hope you enjoy the new Mango games, thank you for using Roy, as always, feedback is always welcome (good or bad...).
... Operation Rescue Lucy: It had to go on-hold whilst I relearnt my Flash skills - there was a risk that if I didn’t upgrade my programming knowledge that I would simply be creating new content in an old fashioned way that wouldn’t stand the test of time... as soon as there is an opportunity to get back on the job I will - thank you for your patience and I hope you understand...