IT Management

Goodbye, Adobe Flash:
What Educators Need to Know

By Mark Lieberman — December 21, 2020 2 min read
Image shows laptop computer with Adobe Flash headstone
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Programs that run on Adobe Flash will no longer work on any devices or browsers after Jan. 12.

This isn’t breaking news—Adobe announced the decision in 2017 and has been providing periodic updates on efforts to phase out its widely used software. The software is going away because Adobe decided a few years ago that Flash has become outdated in the age of more sophisticated platforms. Major web browsers have been minimizing their use of Flash as well.

But it could have an effect on school operations that some people might not be expecting, particularly if they’ve been focused on all the other technology-related developments that have been unfolding during this monumentally chaotic year.

Todd Riker, chief technology officer for the Pike Township school district in Indiana, has been paying attention to the end of Flash since it was announced. In a recent interview, he shared the work he’s been doing behind the scenes, and offered some words of wisdom for any school employees who haven’t been following the gradual demise of Flash.

(For more information, check out Adobe’s FAQ page.)

Many ed-tech companies offered games and interactive tools that ran on Flash. Upon learning that Flash would be ending, Riker ran an internal analysis and found that his school district’s internal systems didn’t have any Flash-based tools. His team then began working with education companies such as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Edmentum, and BrainPop to ensure that they were transitioning their Flash-based games to a new platform.

Transparency is key. Riker also notified teachers to be on the lookout for any Flash-based tools they were using in their own classrooms that might stop working, particularly on Chrome browsers. “We did have some tickets initially saying, ‘Oh my gosh, this is broken, what happened?’ It just became a communication effort for us,” Riker said.

This change reinforces the need for a data inventory. Riker said it’s important for districts to be constantly checking which products they are using, and the platforms on which they run. His tech team members, at times, had to ask curriculum staff to catch them up on the programs schools are running.

Stay vigilant. Riker has been keeping abreast of discussions about the end of Flash on a listserv of technology coordinators in his state, as well as on less official forums like Reddit. He believes most school districts are at least somewhat aware of the impact Flash’s departure will have, but it can’t hurt to be extra aware going into the new year.

“Will there be some little surprises?” Riker said. “I think there will.”

Related Tags:

Events

Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Proven Strategies to Improve Reading Scores
In this webinar, education and reading expert Stacy Hurst will provide a look at some of the biggest issues facing curriculum coordinators, administrators, and teachers working in reading education today. You will: Learn how schools
Content provided by Reading Horizons

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

IT Management From Our Research Center 'Is This Going to Piss People Off?' How to Make Tough Tech Decisions
The reopening of schools carries with it a host of technology decisions that could have an outsized impact on students' and teachers' lives.
9 min read
In this file photo from September 2020, Kristen Giuliano, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Dodd Middle School in Cheshire, Conn., assists Jane Wood, 11, during a hybrid class session.
Kristen Giuliano, a 7th grade social studies teacher at Dodd Middle School in Cheshire, Conn., assists Jane Wood, 11, during a hybrid class session in September 2020.
Dave Zajac/Record-Journal via AP
IT Management From Our Research Center Don't Buy 'Stupid Stuff:' Essential Advice for Technology Purchasing
School districts have more digital devices on their hands than ever before. Here's what they can do to get the biggest bang for their buck.
8 min read
RESET 4 TechFunding lead Image 1156179329
Alan Yrok/iStock
IT Management Download How to Make the Best Tech Decisions for Schools: A Downloadable Guide
Identify gaps, assess available solutions, solicit input from end users, and test drive new products, services, or approaches.
1 min read
IT Management Schools Are Flush With Stimulus Money. Will They Waste It on Unproven Technology?
Districts are throwing billions of dollars at ed tech that could be ineffective, underutilized, and come with hidden long-term costs.
8 min read
Conceptual finance image of large group of flying money of American one hundred dollar bills in binary coded tunnel
iStock/Getty Images Plus