AuthorSTREAM is a relatively new and very impressive service. Think "YouTube for slide shows." They do not have a monopoly on this claim—to some extent, all of the web services I discuss include social media sharing possibilities—but authorSTREAM sets itself apart in two regards:
- Their conversion can handle many slide animations, and perhaps more importantly…
- They will include the audio from PowerPoint narrations and from slide animations that include sound.
Have a look at the authorSTREAM conversion embedded below. I wasn't testing narrations with my demo, but note the animations:
All but one of the original animations comes through. The one that fails was 'extreme,' and it degrades gracefully.
Including audio right from the .ppt is a great advance over the competition. SlideShare offers Slidecasting as an ad hoc way to add audio to a SlideShare presentation, but it's considerably more involved: You need to create an .mp3 of your audio and 'sync' it to your slideshow. In a similarly complicated way, Zentation allows you to upload .ppt's and 'sync' them to a Google video (and audio) of yourself presenting the material. I think authorSTREAM's approach is the easiest, an it's probably the stablest, too.
AuthorSTREAM allows you do designate shows you upload as public or private. You can also share a number of shows with select indviduals. Public shows can be embedded on other web pages, as you can see above. Users rate shows, etc.
The weak points are these:
- In contrast to Zoho, ThinkFree, and Google, authorSTREAM has no authoring functionality.
- At least for the moment, authorSTREAM does not have the userbase of SlideShare.
- Some of the content on my slides was truncated at the bottom. This is a serious shortcoming in an otherwise impressive conversion.
- As with all of the web services, authorSTREAM is not a good choice if you are relying on fair use in the classroom as justification for including copyrighted materials.