The Prezi Pretzel

Power Points are like so 2008…

Since 2009 presentations have been taking a new turn. No longer do presentations have to be slide by slide black on white boring, drab, and non-educational. With Prezi there are so many more options to make presentations more dynamic. In short, Prezi is like a Power Point/Mind map presentation. It combines zooming in and out, moving and dynamic colors and pictures. In short, every image in a Prezi presentation is linked with a certain number. When making a Prezi the creator decides the order of the numbers which determines in what order the images will be shown. When I experimented with Prezi it is one feature I really appreciated, I liked the visual aspect of the layout and of the editing tools.

In class there are many uses for Prezi, even more than there are for Power Points or Mind maps because it combines both in my opinion and it is much more interesting than Power Points. In education, Prezi can be used for things like lectures (of course), students research presentations and even animated story telling (http://ctl.uregina.wikispaces.net/Prezi) This video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bHyW6un-Kc is a good example of what animated story could become, it does not have to be as elaborate a few pictures with a cute backgroung can do the trick. In Prezi, as it is presented in the above video, it is also possible to include music! Which in my opinion makes presentations even more dynamic. It doesn’t have to be hardcore dubstep like in the Youtube video it can simply be a little relaxing background music over which the teacher can talk and still be heard. I think animated storytelling could be a really good tool t use in an ESL class with younger students. Rather than just reading them a book or asking them it read it themselves, an animated story has images and music which can help the students understand the meaning of words and the feeling of the story more effectively. It is also possible to integrate Youtube videos, diagrams and even images. Prezi also has a huge database of high resolution images that can be used in presentations.

What is also great about Prezi is that it is interactive whiteboard friendly, it was first made for the i-pad and so is tailored for touching and interacting with. (http://www.bbcactive.com/BBCActiveIdeasandResources/UsingPreziInEducation.aspx) Also, if a teacher has a lot of Power Points they don’t want to have to restart, Prezi has a function which imports Power Point files into Prezi. No starting over! http://www.howtolearn.com/2013/07/using-prezi-in-education/

It is nice for students to present their projects made with Prezi on the interactive whiteboard because it gets them used to technology and all children like to play with interactive things. They will also feel more in control of their presentation and closer to the content. Touching the content, I think, makes it more concrete for the students. I also think that students presenting with Prezi, will be much more interested in their presentation than students making a simple Power Point or poster. Because Prezi is animated and can be made so colorful and interesting, I think students will feel more motivated.

Learning Prezi can be a little complicated, the blank template is of course, empty, and when I tried it I found it hard to get started. Not knowing where to click or how to take out the frame, etc. I’m also not sure how much one can customize Prezi from a blank template. It doesn’t seem like there are that many other than using a pre-made template. Apart from creating a whole personal template, which looks quite complicated, I found that there were not that many options when using a blank template. Otherwise, there are many very nice templates that have already been created by other users. These can be more easily customized and adapted because the bases are already in place. When using Prezi with younger children, I think I would show only the very basics of the program and let them grow with the software, otherwise I think they could get lost and abandon the idea.

I think that when Prezi is learned, and there are so many Youtube tutorials to help, it is a great tool for making classes more fun and interactive for students. It is important for people to have something to look at to keep their attentions on the class. Prezi to me, is more eye-catching because of the movement of the transitions between the images. Prezi is a really good tool to ensure that any material a teacher wants to present as a projection, has an opportunity to get across more effectively because the students are paying more attention to the presentation.

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