Intriguing Presentation Tool, Prezi

Prezi is a unique online presentation tool that is a very interesting alternative to traditional multi-media presentation tools, such as PowerPoint. Prezi uses an unusual interface that allows users to incorporate text, geometric shapes, images, video, files (such as .pdf) into a presentation that flies around the screen, zooming in and out dramatically. It is certainly a beautiful final product. I created a sample presentation that describes the web-conferencing site Dimdim here.

Prezi

The site offers a free, trial membership, which allows for creation and download of 3 presentations, all of which are public. A yearly subscription, which runs about $50 (the site lists the price as 39 euros), allows for 5 times the storage space and private presentations. One big shortcoming of the site, from my view, is the lack of social features, such as the ability to comment on presentations. However, it is intriguing and worth a look for any teacher as tired as I am of the same old PowerPoint. I can envision a high school student truly enjoying the site and creating some masterpieces with it (even if it’s only 3).

4 Comments

  1. I think in many respects you are right, anything that can be done to improve presentations is a good thing. PowerPoint has, however gotten somewhat of a bad rap, in my opinion because it has been misused. I think when used appropriately it can be a great tool for improving presentations and education.

    Having said that, there is a limit to what can be done with PowerPoint. Any improvements in presentations are good. It is crucial not just with PowerPoint, but with all presentation software that they not be lost in the fancy nature of the software but to focus on the content that is being delivered.

  2. Great point about the content, Jon. Too often, I have seen PowerPoint used in a way that, I believe, is to satisfy a teacher’s nagging guilt about not using enough technology, though. They stick with the tool that they know, and students either create a slide show, make a brochure with Publisher, or simply type a document. This is not, as Bernajean Porter describes it, transformative use of technology. In reality, it is reduced to a substitute for pencil-and-paper. If they want to make it more meaningful, they should, as you said, focus on quality content, then see that the resulting presentation is made public in some way, beyond just sharing with the teacher. I’m a big fan of sites like slideshare.net and slideboom.com, because they add a social element that enables viewers to comment or ask questions and exposes the shows to a broader audience.

  3. Randy, you gave a truly superb presentation on synchronous learning environments using Prezi (Rodgers, 2009). I was really impressed and thrilled to see how PowerPoint had evolved, using such a dynamic platform like Prezi, that could minimize and maximize ideas at a click of an icon. The range of magnification is what drives Prezi’s audience to levels of engagement that makes the senses stand on end when viewing material that has been synchronized and energized to reach deeper into the realm of how thought signals the viewer’s deeper response levels in viewer interactions.

    For example, to transform rows of seats in a classroom with a student viewing a blackboard formula to a highrise study corner with a desktop full of sunshine, or the all outdoors on a bus stop with a student viewing a laptop screen, or the darkened room in a home or study environment with a student viewing a laptop screen is not easily transitioned outside of actual motion picture. And even then the transitions have to be rendered in a believable format so the audience gets a cue, or clue, as to what the author is trying to convey. You were able to manipulate Prezi’s features to make the transition seamless and cognitively appealing to all audience levels. This is really a feat of artistic endeavor and ingenuity.

    I would love to learn Prezi, but I must recover from my endeavors with Voice Threads where I had to learn how audio does not always carry the volume that is attainable and adjustible with Audacity, or Skype, for that matter. I need to learn how to synchronize MP3 voice clips with clip art to make a PowerPoint more effective when uploaded to Voice Threads. But, after seeing how you can achieve a better product with Prezi, it may be better to start out with Prezi instead of PowerPoint or Voice Threads. I am not sure, yet.

    I thank you so much for introducing me to Animoto. I still have to learn that one minute of video may take 20 to 30 hours of research, set up, and publishing or reworking. I must have gone through 10 different versions of my Animoto presentation before some sense of satisfaction could be reached. I probably needed to go through as many PowerPoint versions, but time did not permit. It may take even longer times to learn how to use Prezi, but from your demonstration, I think the time will be well spent. Great presentation!

    Reference

    Rodgers, R. (2009). Dimdim: Synchronous, online learning#1. Retrieved April 23, 2009, from http://prezi.com/34727/view/#1

  4. Randy,
    Perhaps if enough users request social features, such as the ability to add comments, to Prezi, that will be an improvement in the near future. Meanwhile, I, too, like the appearance and I love that you used it for your presentation!

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