I'm always looking for new applications that will pique students' interest and give them glimpses of what can be done on the Web that doesn't involve Mebo or Facebook. To that end, I read Ryan Stewart's blog on Sprout with interest and killed some time playing with the fascinating tool.
It took literally moments to create the widget on the top of this page by embedding and modifying ready-made mini-widgets at sproutbuilder.com. Several sharing and publication options are available at the end of the intuitive process, as shown in the screenshot below:
What is Sprout, exactly? Try it for yourself and have your students play with it. It's just about anything you want it to be, but at its core, it is a Flash application that allows you to rapidly build and deploy slick little tools anywhere online. For now, it's in beta and free; we'll see how this gets monetized in the future. For now, enjoy! At worst, Sprout is a nice end-of-week time killer for computer application and web courses you might be teaching.