Thomas Giannattasio

The Battle to Learn Adobe Flash

Curriculum Published 8/2/11 Last updated on 5/16/18
Learning Flash is tough and often discouraging, however the students that take an active involvement in learning it produce fabulous results. So to build their intrinsic motivation, I devised a curriculum structured as a game. Each student completes challenges, earns points to level up and can even win special badges for going above and beyond. A website was built and each student had their own account. The site tracked their progress, showed available challenges, provided resources to help them with the daily challenges and displayed an anonymous leaderboard to show where they stand amongst their classmates. The response to the project was incredible! I had students showing up early for class to complete bonus challenges and the competition aspect built a momentum where each student wanted to stay on top and learn all they could. The inclusion of simple game mechanics was enough to propel the class to a level that none of my earlier classes were able to reach. It was truly an invaluable tool. user: pablopicasso pass: pablo
  • Photoshop

    Editing and compositing for photos, web and mobile app designs, 3D artwork, videos, and more.

  • Animate

    Design interactive vector animations for multiple platforms.

Age Levels
1+ Month

The class site along with supplemental packets and template files.

CC License
Attribution Non-Commercial
5 / 5 • 33 Ratings

Resources (2)

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Comments (24)

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Carina Sommar

Posted on 3/14/13 3:44:30 PM Permalink

<p>Hi Thomas, </p><p>I have to ask.. is this working now and is it allowed to use it in a class situation? </p><p>Kindly Carina</p>

John Doherty

Posted on 10/15/12 3:37:08 PM Permalink

Thanks for sharing and thanks also for putting so much effort into creating this resource.

Alice Vivian

Posted on 2/22/12 10:06:41 PM Permalink

Thanks Thomas

What a great idea. We use a Moodle in our secondary school to deliver curriculum material and I am constantly thinking about how to make the Moodle more interactive/interesting and get away from it being like paper behind glass. This is a wonderful solution to my problem. Thanks!

Thomas Giannattasio

Posted on 1/31/12 3:26:23 PM Permalink

Hi Daniel,

Unfortunately, the system is not deployable. We are, however, working on a fully customizable system that allows instructors to run a merit system for their own classes. We're still a couple months away from having a beta, but we're looking for beta testers. Would you like to be involved? If so, shoot me an email at tom[at] and we can discuss further. That goes for everyone, btw. Thanks!

Daniel Mc Sweeney

Posted on 1/31/12 9:27:16 AM Permalink

Great work. Its a superb idea.

Apologies if this is a newbie question as I am new to exchange, but is this a shared resource (can I download the site and use on my own server with my students)

Well done on the award. Its well deserved!

Many thanks


Natalie Denmeade

Posted on 11/10/11 9:48:56 PM Permalink

Fantastic, Iam very happy you shared it, and my students will be too :) 5 stars to you

Thomas Giannattasio

Posted on 11/9/11 11:31:22 AM Permalink

Hi Melanie,

Yes, I developed the projects on the class site specifically for this class. Points were based on how difficult I thought the challenges were. Badges were given for really going beyond what was expected.

Melanie Kern

Posted on 11/8/11 8:51:38 PM Permalink


I am teaching Flash for the first time and have little experience with it, or at least I feel underqualified to be traing to teach it to someone else. Anyway, with regard to the class web site I am assumming it is also your handiwork? I am curious about how you created the ranking system.


Thomas Giannattasio

Posted on 10/24/11 5:22:20 PM Permalink

Hi Pamela,

Thanks for the questions. The site has an administrative backend which allows me to award students when they finish a challenge. Most of the work needs to be checked and approved, so this actually works out really well. The system then calculates points and rankings.

Pamela Harris

Posted on 10/24/11 4:59:25 PM Permalink

How does the interactive site work to track student progress? Do you have the actual student files scripted to send information to their file and then to the files of others so they can see whos beating who? I tried the demo and things were calculated and I saw some of the outside files for inspiration and all of your tip sheets except for the first one (dead link).

Pat Murphy

Posted on 10/23/11 3:27:44 PM Permalink

Congratulatons, Tom; I'm happy for you.

Mr. Murphy

Penn College (retired)

Kumuda Gururao

Posted on 10/23/11 11:35:41 AM Permalink

Excellent idea that involves individual participation of students and highly motivating.

ahmed ali

Posted on 10/19/11 4:39:20 AM Permalink


Betsy Nilsen

Posted on 8/24/11 2:23:48 PM Permalink

Thanks so much for reconnecting some of the links. Fabulous idea!

Thomas Giannattasio

Posted on 8/24/11 11:02:10 AM Permalink

Hi Betsy,

Thanks for checking it out. Yes, some of the resource links have been lost. This class ended months ago and somehow some of the files were lost in the shuffle (this is why the agenda only has a few days on it). I just did a quick search and found a few. They're uploaded, so if you're really interested you might try again.

Betsy Nilsen

Posted on 8/24/11 2:39:21 AM Permalink

Looks like a great idea! However, when I access the class website, all of the links come up with an error "not found" message. Ar the links no longer active?

Thomas Giannattasio

Posted on 8/23/11 11:58:17 PM Permalink

Hi Trisha,

I'm not sure what you mean. Are you unable to log in? Once you get through, you can see all of the challenges put forth.

trisha portbury

Posted on 8/22/11 9:14:03 PM Permalink

I can't get your link to show me what you are doing, but if it does what it says, I think it would be fabulous.

I got really good at director, but flash illuded all but a few students because of all the 'hidden' bits along a score.

Good luck with this project.

Sean Boughner

Posted on 8/22/11 4:57:38 PM Permalink

Cool site. Love the template files to work with and learn.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 8/2/11 9:22:46 PM Permalink

Priceless to hear from a participant (especially since I'm planning something similar). Thanks for sharing, Sarah!

Sarah Baker

Posted on 8/2/11 8:35:51 PM Permalink

As a student in this class, I can say this was one of the most effective teaching styles that we responded to. It made us all try harder to learn Flash, even when it got difficult, because of the competition aspect. I think what was so good about this type of game is that it would work well for any age group and skill level.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 8/2/11 4:41:38 PM Permalink

Thomas Giannattasio

Posted on 8/2/11 3:50:28 PM Permalink

It wasn't really necessary. I thought I might run the risk of people falling behind, because I made all challenges optional. However, I think by providing more direct feedback as to where they stand in relation to their classmates, the students felt it necessary to keep up with what's going on. I think they felt more in control of their final grade, and I think it made learning more fun for them!

Adobe Education

Posted on 8/2/11 3:20:27 PM Permalink

Fantastic curriculum Thomas! Thanks for sharing! I agree that Flash can be tough to learn and this is a novel approach to making it more fun.

The competitive aspect of the class is very interesting. I can see how that would be very compelling for the students. Did you do anything else to keep the students who may have fallen behind in the competition engaged with the classwork? Or was that not necessary?