In case you haven’t noticed or maybe you have better things to do with your time, Prezi has been getting a ton of press and praise lately, so I tried it out with my class. Let me tell you that Prezi is pretty darn slick and it is a bit different from PowerPoint. Prezi is pretty much a presentation tool, but instead of organizing it with different slides, you have one giant canvas that you can zoom in and out of in a sequence or go anywhere you want. So let’s get to it.
Prezi looks great. As far as presentations go, Prezi is far more appealing to look at than both PowerPoint and Keynote (the presentation software from Apple Inc.). It is simple, clean, and easy for the people making it to see that too much text is not a good thing. When I brought it to my class I was pretty stoked about the whole deal, and when I showed them what a Prezi looked like, they were pretty excited as well. That excitement quickly turned a little sour though.
My students were eager and learning Prezi was no problem. It’s interface is simple and they have limited the the choice of font, color schemes, and backgrounds, which can be a real time vampire for some students. So, basically they are just adding content, and in less than 15 minutes I would say that my students had a good grasp of this program and what it can do. They knew how to upload images, add text, zoom in and out, link them together, and even add a little flare. Don’t worry I’ll have a how-to coming your way soon.
Despite Prezi’s ease of use there were some definite problems. One problem we ran into was that students could zoom in, but not out. Another teacher in another classroom had the same issues as we did and when investigating the forums we found that we were not alone with this issue. Prezi did not have a real solution other than logging out and then back in. This worked sometimes, but not all the time. Even changing computers and switching between using Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox did not seem to solve it sometimes.
Another set of issues were people having difficulties adding text, inserting pictures, and saving. Now some of these issues may have been on our end. My school is located overseas and sometimes the Internet can be well, as reliable as a ten year old Yugo (if you own a 10 year old Yugo please forgive me . . . and get a new car if you can). Overall, we decided it was worht another attempt, but having a back up plan such as Voicethread, PowerPoint, or Google Docs may be a option.
What I really like about Prezi is that it IS online. It gives another great opportunity to talk about students, publishing online, their responsibilities, and what they post can have consequences (both good and bad). I recommend Prezi. Despite our hiccups and problems, this is a site that will probably only get better. They have educational plans and discounts, and you can even buy a downloadable version that will allow the user to work offline and upload whenever (if ever). Also, it really demonstrates that less is more. I mean PowerPoint has been around for over 15 years and still people make presentations loaded with text and when you try to do that in Prezi, it looks bad, it is hard to read, and it really shows that less is more.
I’ve included a little Prezi showing what you can do with it, so check it out. also a quick how-to is coming and hopefully that good looking Lebanese fool Omar will chime in with his own comments.
Follow this link to view my Prezi, leave a comment there or her, but leave a comment! I would embed it into the blog but WordPress.com does not allow flash media to be embedded for security reasons 😦