Presenting online with mybrainshark

Since I teach a good bit online, I find that I’m always creating screencasts of presentations to share with my online students.  The process goes something like this:  I create a presentation (using PowerPoint or Keynote) and then use a piece of software (called ScreenFlow) to record myself giving the presentation.  I then obsessively edit the recording, save it as a movie and then upload it to YouTube.  Got all that?  It can be kind of complicated but I feel that incorporating my voice is critical to the instructional process online.  My students can hear me discuss my thoughts (and tell my corny jokes) and it gives them a sense that they’re interacting with a real educator, rather than just reading words on a screen.

While screencasting can be a little complicated, mybrainshark makes it really simple.  After you create your presentation slides, you simply upload them and record what you want to say on each slide.  The site can use your built in microphone or you can call into the site using a phone.  The site really cannot be easier to use.  It walks you through each step of the process and even provides a tutorial to show you how to record your own presentation.  Best of all, the basic account is free.

Besides being a great tool for educators to present content to students, mybrainshark creates opportunities for students to make presentations as well.  By allowing students to create and share presentations with their online classmates, mybrainshark can foster the development of learning communities, where ideas can be exchanged freely.  Mybrainshark can be used with group presentations, with simple digital stories, or even as a means of building more student interaction into the online learning environment.  Since the site allows the creations to be embedded in other locations (like Blackboard, Moodle or Desire2Learn), the presentations can serve as an assessment for students as well as a way to build more social learning experiences into an online course.  Consider having a discussion board where students respond to a mybrainshark presentation by developing and embedding their own presentation.  Since each mybrainshark presentation would contain the creator’s voice, the discussion board would be closer to a real discussion than a string of textual posts.

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4 thoughts on “Presenting online with mybrainshark

  1. Ollie,
    TeachersFirst has Brainshark in our review queue, but I wanted to suggest a couple more uses ( similar to Voicethread). Have primary students create and READ their stories or projects to build reading fluency. I especially like the idea of sharing these “works” with grandma by link. Have speech and language students or ESL students read the words or name the objects on slides. Trace improving articulation for speech students over the course of several “shows.” Much more fun than simply recording, and parents can see the results, too, so they might encourage practice at home.

    My 2 cents…
    Candy

  2. Another great site! This would also a great resource to post review material for students on lessons and/or preview material for a lesson.

    Screencasting has been a great way to review algebra steps, diagramming sentences in English, as well as tips and tricks for integration ideas. This site will definitely make life easier. Also, since this makes the process of screencasting easier, the students could now be used more to create these resources instead of the teacher.

    I love podcasting, but having the students use this with supporting slides for the visual learners is great. I also like your idea about using this to build more social experiences into an online environment. My goal is try this with my students in our online discussion forums.

    Ollie, thanks for another great idea!

  3. Great review. The only thing I’ve found missing about myBrainshark is that you can only put audio with PowerPoint slides, not video. I’ve sat through both audio/PPT and video/PPT lectures in school and found the video/PPT combination to be much more engaging. I looked around for a tool that’s as easy as myBrainshark but combines video & PPT and found something called Knovio… free & as I said, just as easy as myBrainshark. You just upload your PPT, record yourself giving it the presentation, & share it.

    @Candy – Definitely agree with your idea of these products being useful for not only teachers but also for the students to improve their speaking skills/practice at home. This is why these products are so useful/important.

  4. Hi there @Lindsay, I work on the myBrainshark team. Just wanted to share how you can upload video. It’s just treated as a separate piece of content to upload (vs. having it embedded in your slide). Under “Things You Can Do” in the application, you’ll find it under “add slides->add video slide.” Hope that helps. You can also email feedback@mybrainshark.com if you have any questions or reach out to us via twitter @mybrainshark.

    Thx for the great article Ollie!

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