There are so many web 2.0 tools, that it really is hard to keep up. In an effort to expand my web 2.0 horizons, I've attempted to try at least one new tool per week. I note which tools are receiving a lot of buzz or look really powerful and they end up on my informal list.
The latest tool that I've tried is SlideShare's slidecasting. I've seen quite a number of straight slide shows on SlideShare, but it was only recently that I played a slidecast. What is a slidecast? A slidecast is when your slides are synched to audio. It has the power of video, but is much simpler to make and the visual quality is excellent! In addition when you are watching the slidecast you can skip ahead to the slide you're interested in and the audio is still synched. At the bottom of the slidecast you can see how much audio goes with each slide.
To learn how to make your own slidecast, check out Jonathan Boutelle's slidecast. In addition to Jonathan's info, the following might help. To make your slidecast, you upload your slides to SlideShare and your audio to a podcasting host. In Slideshare you provide the url for your audio. One of the things that I found difficult was locating the url for my mp3 file. I still don't know how to find the url for the audio I uploaded to Gcast. I eventually loaded my mp3 file to Internet Archive. When you click on your audio file in Internet Archive you get a screen that looks like the image below. I've indicated in the image where you find out the url for your mp3 file.
I decided to make my first slidecast using a Google Docs presentation I did for my Science 9 on-line class. It is on cell division. The slides were not geared to slidecasting, and have far more text than is necessary. I've never podcasted before, so there are definite problems with the audio--it is very quiet and there are no intros, outros or music of any kind. In the spirit of sharing though (see Shareski--Lesson #1 Share), here's my slidecast, warts and all.
| View | Upload your own
In case the embedded slidecast doesn't work, here's the link.
One way to use slidecasting would be to prepare mini-lessons that can be posted on-line for students to access on an as needed basis. They could also come in handy on those days you require a substitute teacher :-) People can comment on slidecasts that you post to SlideShare. If students did projects involving slidecasting, their peers could view and leave comments. I could see using this to get students to make their own slidecasts to explain concepts.
I'm excited about slidecasting because it is relatively straightforward to produce, it has the power of video, the image quality is great, and all the tools are free! If you haven't tried it before, give it a look-see and maybe you'll add it to your list of tools to try.