SlideCasting

I have spent pretty much all summer reading, exploring, blogging, and discussing new Web 2.0 applications as they pop up online.   I have spent hours teaching Web 2.0 "academies" to interested teachers.  I just learned about a brand new feature for one of my favorite Web 2.0 applications, SlideShare, from Chris Craft’s Crucial Craft blog.

SlideShare is a service that I have blogged about in the past, though the new SlideCasting feature warrants another look.


The SlideCasting FAQs page offers a thorough screen cast along with tips and tricks for creating your slidecast.   Here are some quick highlights:

What is Slidecasting? And how is it different from podcasting, webcasting or screencasting?

  • Slidecasting is a new multimedia format from SlideShare – you can play any slidedeck synchronized with an audio file. To create a slidecast, you need to upload slides to SlideShare. Your audio file, however, can be hosted anywhere on the web- any server, file storage, or podcasting service. You link the slides & audio together using our synchronization tool. Now every time you play the Slidecast, the audio is streamed from its location and plays with the slides.
  • You can think Slidecasts as a mashup of slideshare with podcasts.
  • Slidecasting is also different from webcasting (or screencasting). Unlike webcasts or screencasts, slidecasts does not require complex recording or streaming technology. Instead it allows you to take existing media (slides and audio) and link them together using a free, web based interface. Additionally, webcasts are usually bandwidth hogs, difficult to create and annoyingly sluggish to view. A slidecast, on the other hand, can be setup in a jiffy, has a much faster experience. And yes, it is completely free.

The process of creating a SlideCast is pretty straightforward, especially if you have used the service before.

Step 1: Upload presentation file — upload your file to SlideShare; or use an existing slideshow that was uploaded earlier.
Step 2: Upload audio mp3 file — Upload your audio file (mp3 format only) to a server or to a podcasting service. The mp3 should be streamable (downloadable from server). Find the URL for your audio file.
Step 3: Add audio url to slideshow — Go to Edit slideshow>edit Slidecast. Enter the audio URL (or copy/paste it) and click the "Link mp3 to slideshow" button. Now wait for a moment (1-2 minutes) till the synchronization tool loads (during this time the audio file shall get processed and made ready for synchronization).
Step 4: Synchronize slides & audio — There are three ways to do the synching. (a) You can leave the audio unsynchronzied. (b) Or you can do a quick synch using the divide audio equally (suited to musical slideshows). (c) Or you can synch each slide to a particular point in the audio file.
Once the synchronization tool has loaded, you are ready to go. Follow these steps:
  • The tool has three parts – Slide Selector, Synchronization Workspace & Audio Selector
  • Click on first slide. Adjust the blue end marker for first slide in the synchronization workspace as you want. Slide 1 is now marked
  • Now click on slide 2 in the slide selector. Adjust the blue end marker for slide 2 in the workspace. Slide 2 is now marked
  • Repeat for all the slides
  • You can use the Draggable Window in the audio selector to navigate the audio waveform
  • Optional: use the Divide Audio Equally link to divide your audio file equally amongst all the slides
Step 5: Save & Publish — Save your work frequently; this only saves your work, it doesn’t show the Slidecast on the site. The Slidecast appears publicly only when you click Save & Publish.
 

 

Here is an example of a SlideCast created by Jonathan Boutelle.

I can imagine dozens of uses for SlideCast.  In fact, when you visit SlideShare, there is a new front page feature called SlideCast of the Day.  With all the blogosphere chatter about the relevance of face-to-face conferences – or the "unconference" – I would imagine that I will be seeing quite a bit of SlideCasting accompanying traditional gatherings. 

I would really love to see how other educators make use of SlideCasting. 

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