Visually stimulating, conceptually smart… PREZI

When we talk about presenting information in a way students get it, some may simply fall back on making a Powerpoint, or other linear presentation where you move from one slide/page to the next. Once again I think we need to start at the beginning… the purpose of your presentation.

If your purpose is to present information in a linear, bulleted way… then sure make a Powerpoint. But what if the information you are presenting isn’t linear? What if there are parts that you need to show relationships, then explain the parts.  What if it is sequential, but not always going in one direction?

So, before you create a presentation for your students, colleagues, or friends sketch out what types of information you need to share and think about the tools you have to use.

Here’s an example of my thought process when creating a presentation:

  • If my presentation is linear, I may choose Powerpoint (To be honest I’m really not a fan of Powerpoint… ok I said it, so sue me.)
  • If I want to incorporate interactive components into my presentation I usually use SMART Notebook. This software comes with your purchase of a SMART Board. Any IWB (Interactive white board) usually has a software that comes with it to help you incorporate interactive pieces and activities. This software is great for when you want your audience to be more actively engaged.
  • If I need to show relationships between concepts, or want to show the bigger picture and then zoom into the parts I use Prezi.

preziPrezi produces a great, professionally looking presentation that you can incorporate pdfs, video, and images. You can set up your pieces, then set the path that you want it to go in. When presenting you can simply forward it from one part to the next. I also like the idea that you can download the presentation to present it offline as well. When you do this it zips all your files and creates a flash file for you to present. I think this is the best way to incorporate videos, since it zooms into full screen, but you can also incorporate text, like a title that appears above your video as it is played.

The only thing I don’t like about Prezi… their user agreement states you have to be 18 years or older to use it. (Unless you have a parent’s permission) So, as an educator sure this is a great tool for me to use with my students, but what I really want to do is have my students use it as well. I see an amazing power in having students create presentations where they show relationships of concepts in various ways. Sure, as educators I guess we could have students use our account to create presentations, or get permission from parents to create accounts for students but I would love more. I’m hoping that I can encourage Prezi to improve their educational opportunities and develop a teacher ‘dashboard’ level. Now that would be cool, and would allow teachers of all age students to use this great tool.

Paul Hill made a great Prezi on ‘thoughts on using Prezi as a teaching tool’.  It gives a great overview on how you can use Prezi in unique ways, ways that PowerPoint simply can’t do.

When you check out Prezi, don’t get turned off by the slight learning curve you will experience in using it. There are great, short video tutorials that will help you and it really is worth the effort.

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