If you are a myBrainShark.com account holder, then you’ve probably already received a notice from Brainshark that they will be terminating the free myBrainShark service at the end of the year. This is their schedule for closure:
July 18, 2015 – You will see two new features released to the myBrainshark app, enabling you to publish your myBrainshark presentations directly to YouTube, or download your content straight to your hard drive or cloud storage system. The period to download content will end with the myBrainshark site shutdown on January 4, 2016.
August 29, 2015 – You will no longer be able to upload or create new content in myBrainshark. However, your existing presentations will remain active, and all presentation links you’ve embedded or shared will still work.
January 4, 2016 – The myBrainshark website will be officially shut down, and all content will become inactive.
So if you need to continue presenting slideshows with your personalized narration (and we hope that you do!), we offer the following alternatives. None of them are an exact replacement for the methods and tools built into the myBrainShark system, but one of these tools may be able to serve the same purpose, depending on your needs.
Please contact the Instructional Design Team if you would like assistance in choosing a replacement, or some help testing one of them out! We’d be glad to help: Instructional Design Support
Replacements for myBrainShark fall into two classifications: Slideshow-based and Video-based.
myBrainShark is a slideshow-based system (as are the two recommendations below) which means that they display slide images, but not motion video. As such, they are “light” in terms of bandwidth use (optimal for mobile device users). Presentations can be accessed through a direct link or embedded in a course page.
For dirt-simple slideshow and audio narration: Penxy – http://penxy.com/. It does only one thing, without any bells and whistles. If slides and audio are all that are you need, this will do. One potential risk factor with this system is that it is new, and could, like many other online Web tools, disappear without notice, or change to a different pricing model. If a longterm library of presentations is needed, proceed with caution. Second, the platform does not accommodate an accompanying transcript, so a separate transcript file will be needed if you use it as course material. It is not free, but charges do not apply until you attain more than 5 hours of cumulative media. After 5 hours, the charge is $1.49 per hour, per month. EXAMPLE: penxy.com/dili
For more features and design options: Prezi – https://prezi.com/. Prezi is a familiar name in the online presentation segment, it is a stable platform, and is already used in a long list of GSC online courses. However, there are two significant caveats: (1) Prezi is not designed for uploading a PPT file as a basis for the presentation. Slides (or “steps”) are created from scratch, which will require that you export your PPT file as a collection of JPEG files, and then upload them as images into Prezi. (2) Audio narration can be added to each “step”, but only as a pre-recorded audio file. There is no method for recording audio through a browser interface on-the-go as was facilitated in myBrainShark. EXAMPLE: Critical Inquiry at GSC
Video-based systems are primarily designed around a motion video recording with additional media added to it, either in place of the video image (while audio continues to play), or beside the video playback panel. Video-based systems must be mobile compatible to be considered here.
For dirt-simple slideshow and video/audio narration: MoveNote – https://www.movenote.com/. This is a
free ( UPDATE! This is no longer free ) Google Drive add-on (we have reviewed this tool previously) where a PPT file is uploaded, and then a webcam video is synchronized to each slide in realtime. It cannot natively accommodate captions, but the final product can be downloaded as a video file and then uploaded to YouTube where it can be captioned by uploading a transcript (no manual sync needed – it does it automatically, pretty closely). EXAMPLE: https://www.movenote.com/v/Puvf-Z4eoa3pi
For interactive multimedia: Zaption – http://www.zaption.com/tours. Zaption is a platform that combines a YouTube video with user-added slides that can be an image, text, a question with a submission box, multiple-choice quiz, and other features. It accommodates captions, tracks user responses, and provides analytics. There is a free account with limited features, but adequate projects can be created with their basic tool set. An LTI integration option is available for fee-based Pro accounts. EXAMPLE: http://zapt.io/tm8ctv2z
However, for all of Zaption’s features, creating a pure narrated slideshow is not easily done since the editing tools do not provide fine grain alignment of one image slide to the next. Rather, it is best to envision Zaption as a video presentation with multimedia enhancements. If all that is needed is a basic narrated slideshow, Zaption may be overkill.
From a pedagogical perspective, Zaption’s features support the educational research that interactive video produces less mind wandering and better recall, if used appropriately (see below).
Schacter, Daniel L.; Szpunar, Karl K., (2015). Enhancing attention and memory during video-recorded lectures. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, Vol 1(1), Mar 2015, 60-71. Retrieved 7-6-2015 from: http://www.researchgate.net/publication/272365169_Enhancing_Attention_and_Memory_During_Video-Recorded_Lectures