This minor release brings changes in two main areas to the web version of IntoScience: a WebGL client for those using the Chrome browser (and Chromebooks); and a simpler, streamlined interface, focused on helping students and teachers find what they want, when they want.
We’ve brought in the WebGL client in response to an upcoming release of the Chrome browser which disables the Unity Plugin (which powers IntoScience on the web) completely. WebGL is an exciting new technology, removing the need for a plugin and making IntoScience available to Chromebooks.
Unfortunately, it is still a fairly young technology, and as such we expect it to be less stable than the Unity plugin version. More information on what this likely means for you is below.
At the same time, we’re bringing you the first results of extensive usability research we’re conducting on IntoScience, with cleaner menus and a teacher dashboard.
- WebGL client for Chrome Users
- A Teacher Dashboard – provides a clear way to find useful tutorials and resources
- Teacher Tutorials – a website dedicated to helping teachers learn how IntoScience works
- Troubleshooting Page – full of common questions, problems and known issues
- Curriculum Information Page – provides information on how all the activities map to various curriculums
- Links to specific activities – send your students a link for homework
- New menus which improve usability
- New Worksheets, available on the web
- Massive reliability improvements to the Summon Class and the Teacher Console
- Improved legacy code systems
Notes for upgrading
We are now publishing IntoScience using Unity3D version 5.1.3. Schools that access via a web browser (other than Chrome and Edge) will be required to have the latest version of Unity web player.
Please note that IntoScience does not currently support Microsoft Edge. We recommend that your use a different browser (FireFox is preferred), or that you use our new Windows App Store App.
Schools using the local content server should update their content bundle here.
For install instructions and getting started guides please visit our support website.
To sign in, go to http://intoscience.com/signin.
New features in v1.6a
WebGL: A Solution for Chrome
With v1.6a, we release a new version of IntoScience for the Chrome browser that utilises some exciting new WebGL technology. This technology removes the need for a separate Unity plugin and makes IntoScience available for Chromebook users.
Unfortunately, WebGL technology is still a fairly new technology. As with all new technologies, transitioning to it comes with some uncertainty.
Why we did this
In late 2014, Google announced that it would discontinue support for all NPAPI plugins (which includes Java, Silverlight and the Unity plugin that we use) from September this year. This would mean that IntoScience would simply stop working in the Chrome browser at some point during the month.
A way to work around this is to export IntoScience into WebGL; a new technology that allows the program to work without any plugins. Fortunately for us, Unity (the engine that powers IntoScience) has been working very hard to assist us on this gargantuan task. Usually, we would take more time before using a new technology to ensure that your experience is seamless and exemplary. In this instance time has been short, so the tools for the process are still in beta (and therefore not perfect).
Because of this, we made the decision to ensure that IntoScience continued to operate in Google Chrome and thus release a WebGL version. However, we expect that this version will have some teething issues.
What you should expect to change
If you’re using Chrome, these are the things we expect you to notice about the new build:
- There’s no longer any need to download a plugin to use IntoScience. Getting into the program will be much simpler.
- The size of the program is much bigger (the WebGL client is ~16mb, whereas the Unity Plugin client is ~2mb). This is unavoidable due to the nature of WebGL, and will significantly add to download times.
- Higher memory usage. This will generally lead to lower performance, but will occasionally lead to crashes, especially in the open world environments.
What you can do about it
If you’re experiencing problems using IntoScience on the Chrome Browser, here are some simple things you can do:
- If you’re worried about downloading the WebGL build during a class, load it beforehand on each the devices you’re using. Even if you then close IntoScience, it will remain in your cache and load much faster after that.
- Use a browser which uses the Unity plugin. Mozilla’s Firefox is currently our preferred browser for IntoScience. Internet Explorer and Safari are also good options.
- Download a standalone version of IntoScience here.
- If you’re experiencing crashes, it’s probably best to avoid the open-world environments for now, and check in for updates on improvements to our WebGL version.
New Menu Bar
Our new menu bar is designed based on extensive research and feedback from teachers. Find out more about it on our tutorials page.
New Teacher Dashboard
Your new teacher dashboard links to tools and resources that teachers need to run their class.
Unsure about how to do something in IntoScience? Our brand new Tutorials page will step you through everything you need to know.
Having trouble using IntoScience? Find answers here!
Curriculum Information Page
Easily find out how each activity links to your curriculum.
Our worksheets have been updated to be clearer and easier for students to use.
New Room Service
Summoning class and the Teacher Console are now far more reliable.
Windows App Store
There’s now a IntoScience App in the Windows App Store for Windows RT, 8.1 and 10!