From podcast to slidecast

As interest in digital storytelling continues to grow at Evergreen, Academic Computing and Electronic Media have been working to find appropriate technologies to custom fit the needs of our unique and varied curriculum.  In previous years we have used GarageBand plus Audacity to create enhanced audio podcasts (still images + audio). This is still a great solution for podcasters who are wanting to create a syndicated feed of serialized podcasts. The downsides include difficulty embedding a quicktime player to view podcasts from the web, dependence upon iTunes to view a larger format version, and a Mac only authoring environment.

For Fall 2011 we’re trying something new for the Energy Systems and Climate Change program. The students will be creating narrated presentations (audio + still images) but instead of learning GarageBand they are focusing their efforts on recording techniques and audio editing with Audacity. For the still image side of the equation we’re using PowerPoint – an app almost every student was already familiar with. To bring audio and still images together we’re experimenting with creating slidcasts at SlideShare.net. Slideshare.net has a built-in tool for easily synchronizing presentation slides to an audio track. Once published, the narrated presentation is available to view, share and embed; all with the option to view at full screen resolution.

Advantages: In working with the students, the slidecasting workshop took 30 minutes to complete. In the past we have spent in excess of 2 hours teaching GarageBand and then had to work individually with the faculty to get the podcasts published to the web.

Disadvantages: Slidecast (audio+slides) is still in a Flash format so iOS devices cannot playback. They can play back the slides without audio however.

Take a look at this slidecast I created as an intro to slidecasting. It provides an overview of what’s involved in creating a slidecast and also gives you a taste of the final product.

View another webinar from agreenerbean
Updates:
Additional alternatives have been popping up see Carolyn Kraut’s demo of embedding a Google Doc presentation with an audio file into your blog. Because of the 2 minute limitation in Aviary, I’d recommend using Audacity + SoundCloud instead.

Using Slideshare.net to create a narrated slidecast

Here is a demo of a  slidecast a created in about 15 minutes. The goal was to find an easy way to combine sound and still images without having to learn a video editing tool.
  1. I started by adding a series of photos to a PowerPoint presentation.
  2. I went through the presentation while recording a voice narrative into my iPhone (this would also work if I were recording a lecture).
  3. I brought the .m4a file audio file into Audacity and made some basic edits, normalized the track volume and exported as a .mp3 file (optional step but well worth the effort)
  4. Finally, I uploaded both the .ppt and .mp3 files to Slideshare.net and timed the audio to the slides using their built-in tool (really easy). Below is the embedded slidecast: