Thoughts on Prezi

repost from Cuny Commons Kitchen Sink/Kitchen Table Utilities  (a great list of educational resources!) and my contribution on Prezi:

Prezi is an interactive presentation tool that can incorporate a variety of media including pictures, sounds, images and video and it is free with an .edu email account. I have found that Prezi is an excellent and engaging medium for presenting information.

I use Prezi online. There is a function where you can work with Prezi offline but I have found this difficult to use. Therefore if you are not sure you will have a reliable Internet connection at the location where you plan to present you may want to avoid using Prezi. One other caveat, be sure that the computer you will present with has an updated version of Flashplayer.

Personal Anecdote: I used Prezi to share my M.A. thesis. This was a high stress situation, all of our faculty and a number of fellow students were in attendance. Luckily we had a practice run the week before in the same room where I was to present. At the start of this practice session I realized the computer did not have an updated version of Flashplayer, I did not have admin privileges and therefore my presentation did not work. This was almost a total disaster! Later in the week I was able to resolve this problem and the presentation went well. Afterward a few people asked me how things like ‘How did you make PowerPoint do that?’

The above noted, Prezi has a great feel and it is definitely worth experimenting with. I find my students are more engaged when I present material with Prezi as opposed to PowerPoint. In part this could be because the design of Prezi encourages less print on the screen.

Although my students liked when I used Prezi, none of them chose to use Prezi for their final presentations. On the section of their presentation grading rubric there were categories for organization and design, but these points could be earned just as easily with a well conceived PowerPoint presentation. In the future I might offer some incentive for using Prezi. I myself only learned Prezi because I was in a professional development seminar and we had an hour to play with the program, and after years in college lecture halls I have been conditioned to put my head down and drool when I see PowerPoint templates.

For people with little time or high stakes, as in the case of giving a major presentation, I wonder if Prezi should be encouraged? It seems in some ways the risks outweigh the benefits.

Disclaimer: I am no expert in Prezi but if you want to check out some of my quick creations, enjoy!

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