About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Prezi, a new way of thinking about presentations

Yesterday I gave my first presentation using Prezi. I had heard about the software and had even registered for the educational version, but then had promptly forgotten about it. Then one of my students used it in a class assignment. So giving a presentation on Presentations to my daughter's class, I decided to try it out. As this is the first presentation I've given using Prezi, it is still in the basic mode. Also, I'm not sure what the difference is between the educational version and the commercial version. So here is my review of Prezi's EDUCATIONAL version (this is free to educators and students...other users will need to pay for it).


What I particularly like about using Prezi in a presentation is that I don't have to present linearly. For example, yesterday, I found that many of the students were much further along in some aspects of presentation skills and needed a lot of help in other aspects. Also, as this was a classroom presentation, certain questions and issues came up "out of sequence." Students would ask questions for which I had planned to cover later in the workshop. However, because of the none linear nature of Prezi, I was able to go to that part of the prepared presentation that addressed the issue or question. This made my presentation much more flexible.

Likewise, Prezi was very easy to use, especially as they had a basic interactive video pop up each time you use Prezi (you can override this) which helped instruct on how to use Prezi. Their supporting videos and resources were really excellent. Some of the most useful features included an automatic YouTube link which makes it easy to embed YouTube clips right into the video...no having to go outside of the presentation like PowerPoint requires.


There are some features that I think Prezi can work on. The first would be the ability to embed any video link as easily as You Tube is. In order to embed other sites, you must first cut and paste the URL address into the Edit mode of Prezi, then leave the site, click on the link, then go back to edit mode and click on the site again. This is very cumbersome. You must also remember what the URL address goes to whereas the YouTube clip comes up on the Prezi presentation.

I also found the show part of the presentation a bit difficult to work with. I feel this would probably be easy to learn, and it would be a good alternative to self directed training as a click will focus on those areas of the presentation that you want someone to see in sequence. However, it is also possible for someone to take control of their own learning and override the "show" function.

Another problem was that the program was very easy to use with a mouse. But the computer I used for the presentation used a finger pad. Now, I'm the first to admit that I don't like finger pads and am not the best in using them. However, it was next to impossible to use Prezi with the finger pad. I ended up borrowing a mouse.

One final minor problem was that whenever I clicked a certain way on the presentation (I'm not sure what that was though), the presentation would rotate. Fortunately, there was a rotate icon which I used to straighten out the format. But this was very irritating.

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