Mourning SlideRocket and Migrating to MyBrainShark

SlideRocket is my favorite online presentation tool. I use it to create presentations, add narration to slides, and make them available online. But alas, as with the way of the Web 2.0 world, SlideRocket has been purchased by ClearSlide and will no longer be a free option via Google Apps for Education. As of December 31, 2013, my account will be retired and I will no longer have access to any of my presentations housed there.

After researching various online presentation tool options, I decided to use MyBrainShark, which is free and has most of the key features that I need.

Key Features

  • Upload PowerPoint files
  • Get links for embedding code to share
  • Ability to do some editing of the slideshow after it is uploaded. MyBrainShark allows me to reorder, replace, delete and add slides.
  • Record slide-by-slide narration
  • Free

mybrainshark

Additional Useful Features

  • Upload a variety media files including: PDFs, photos, and videos; and record narration for any of these.
  • Add survey questions to your uploaded content
  • Include attachments that viewers can download
  • Utilize a library of royalty free background music
  • Publish your MyBrainShark presentation as a video on YouTube.
  • Create a podcast.
  • View presentations on a mobile device via Android and iOS apps
  • Collection of tutorials

Migration Process

I’ve downloaded all my presentations from SlideRocket as PowerPoint files and uploaded the ones without narration to MyBrainShark. Unfortunately the audio is not included in the PowerPoint file downloaded from SlideRocket. As a work around, you can use Camtasia to record your slideshow as it plays in SlideRocket, generating a video which contains your narration. The end result though is a video, which can’t be easily updated.

From this point forward I have two options:

  • I can use MySlideShark to record narration for my uploaded slideshows and hope it is always there for me.
  • Or, I can record the narration locally on my machine and then upload the presentation for sharing.

Recording Narration Locally

I can use the slide-by-slide record feature in PowerPoint to add narration to each slide. MyBrainShark says that it accepts audio files attached to uploaded PowerPoints. However, it has not worked for me when uploading a file with narration that I have recorded using the Record Audio feature in PowerPoint for Mac 2011. So in order to upload that slideshow with narration online, I will have to generate a video file.

When you save a PowerPoint slideshow as a video it does not include the audio. Instead I can play the narrated slideshow on my station and record it using Camtasia. Camtasia will then export the recording as a video, uploading it directly to Youtube. Camtasia has a feature that automatically sends your video to Youtube, which is my preferred video sharing site. Now if you want to use some of the additional features like attaching files or survey questions, that would be a reason to upload the video to MyBrainShark.

This process provides me with a local editable version of the slideshow complete with narration. So in the future if MyBrainShark is retired for one reason or another, I won’t have to start over with narration for my presentations. However, it will be more work to edit the narration on a couple slides and upload the new version, than if I’d just edited the recording for the slide on MySlideShark.

In conclusion, I will recommend MyBrainShark to students and teachers to use to add narration to slideshows. I will decide if I should use MyBrainShark, or Powerpoint and Camtasia to add narration to my slideshows on a case-by-case basis, weighing the risk. ;)

Wishlist

  • When uploading videos without narration, MyBrainShark automatically sets a duration for each slide and starts the presentation when the webpage loads. I wish there was an option for having manual navigation only of the slideshow.
  • I will also miss the collaboration feature of MySlideRocket which allowed for multiple authors.
  • I wish the link would display the show in a stand alone webpage, without all the extraneous content, but that would require a paid subscription.

What online presentation tool do you prefer and why?