Prezi – #7 of 10 Tech Things

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April 27, 2011 by k. liz

What is it? Prezi
What do I use it for? An alternative to Keynote presentations in class, and student presentations.
How long does it take? For me, this is a bit more time intensive. I am somewhat picky about my presentations, so I like to put in the time to be happy with them.
My rating: ******** 8/10

So, I had seen several people tweeting and blogging about this website, and had even registered for an account, but played with it for about 10 minutes and figured there was no way I would actually switch from Keynote to this. I love using Keynote in my class, especially for introducing vocabulary words. My traditional set up is to give a picture, the word, a short definition, the part of speech, and a comprehension check question. So, I was pretty set and happy with my keynotes.

HOWEVER – I also like to periodically have my students create keynotes. Sometimes for a vocabulary lesson, sometimes for a speech presentation, etc. This week, I was having my students create keynote slides for 2-4 of the vocabulary words from the lesson. They had to look up the word, find a picture, and write a sentence, and then I collected all of the slides, and we went through them together. (This was actually my solution to the fact that my student had borrowed my book and I did not know the vocabulary for the lesson before I got to class!) Well, all of my students have Macbooks provided by our school, but they only got a trial session of Keynote, so several of them do not have Keynote on their computer anymore. That is when (thankfully!) prezi.com popped into my head, and I decided to try it with some of my students, and it worked like a charm!

Here is a link to a vocabulary prezi I used in class this week: My Prezi.

Basically, prezi.com is an online presentation visual service. I liken it to Keynote, but it does not have slides. Rather, you are given a huge empty space to work with, and as you create items, you can also create paths. With this function, when you play your presentation, it will zoom in and center on the item that you are working with. You can also control the zoom features during the presentation, and use the mouse to move around your space. There are also for setting the zoom, rotation, and placement different parts of the presentation. I will admit that it is not the simplest program to use when you just pick it up, but my students did fine once I got them started. Uploading images and youtube.com videos is simple. Adding shapes and arrows is simple. There are several pre-determined themes available and you can also change the fonts and sizes of things. Prezi has a tool that they call the Zebra. This took allows you to move items, rotate items, or resize items. It is a bit confusing the first time you use it, but then it gets easy and enjoyable to use. The outermost ring rotates the item (text, picture, or shape), the middle ring resizes the item, and the innermost ring moves the item.

My suggestions are to create all of the items you will want in your presentation before you create a path. This is the one function that I am not completely pleased with, because if you make a mistake in plotting your path, it is not very easy to rearrange. When you finish your Prezi, you should make sure to click on the save button (it does autosave every few minutes, but to save your latest changes, you should be sure to press the save button.) Then, you can go to your homepage and choose your prezi, put it on full screen, and use the forward and back arrows at the bottom of the screen to navigate the presentation.

One of the functions I really love about this, is that I can give my students a username and password for all of them, and then when I want to display their presentations, I only need to log in once, and they are all in the same place. This saves me the trouble of carrying around a thumb drive and inserting it to everyone’s computer. I also like the simple shock and awe part of this program. It is fun to just change things up from the norm.

Well, let me know if you use Prezi in class, and if you like it or find this helpful!!

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