In my relentless quest to find software that takes a PowerPoint and converts it for online viewing (and listening!), I think I have found something very good. It’s called slideshare. While it requires a little extra time to insert and synchronous audio, I would still highly recommend it, especially since it takes a PowerPoint (which most everyone knows how to use) and converts it for online viewing. These are called “slidecasts,” actually. However, what makes slideshare REALLY neat is that it allows full-screen viewing (just like a PowerPoint), but without the download time and large size of a PowerPoint file.
Here’s the lowdown:
First, go to slideshare and create a free account. This will help you keep track of all of your slideshows. Then, upload you PowerPoint. Formats accepted for upload are PowerPoint (ppt & pps), PDF, OpenOffice (odp); Keynote users on a Mac can “Save as pdf”; max size 30 MB.
However, I would HIGHLY advise going one step further than simply uploading a PowerPoint. You can include narration (which you pretty much always should when you are creating an asynchronous multimedia presentation) and synchronize this to each slide. It simply requires that you record narration for each slide (I did this in outline view on my PowerPoint, using the notes, but you could also print out your notes and record from those.) I found a very easy to follow tutorial on how to include narration in your slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/faqs/slidecast
In order to include narration, you’ll need to store your audio files somewhere. Don’t worry . . . you can do this for FREE, too! Here are a couple ways (out of many) you can do this:
- Use Google Groups. Just set up an account in Google Groups and then use that space to upload your mp3 audio file you just recorded.
- Or, I have also used blip.tv, which is very good. Just make sure after you upload your audio recording to your blip.tv account that you select the direct URL to that file (it will end with the file extension, such as mp3).
You’ll need to select the audio that goes with each slide by editing your uploaded PowerPoint, but believe me, it doesn’t take a lot of time and the tutorial link I provided above really explains how to do this very well. I narrated, uploaded the PowerPoint, and then synchronized the narration in about 30 minutes (after watching the tutorial and practicing maybe for about an hour.) So, I feel it was worth the time doing this.
Another cool thing about this service is that others can comment on your slidecast. I just posted a slidecast on podcasting last Thursday and already have had 37 views (okay, some of them were mine)! I haven’t checked for comments yet, however. 🙂 And, as one would expect, you can subscribe to slideshare and see what new shows have been uploaded. By the way, slideshare provides links for you to embed your slidecasts in a number of publishing venues, such as blogs. I simply inserted the code to embed my slidecast into a wordpress blog, which you see below:
So, if you are looking for a convenient, easy, and free way to create multimedia presentations for online viewing, try out slideshare. And tell your students about it. The commenting feature can really help students in creating, receiving peer feedback, and then editing their slidecast. And of course, their work is published and viewable by the entire world, making their work authentic and accountable. Try it out and let me know what you think.