Using Prezi In Education
On the educational scene, Prezi is fast becoming the new kid on the block. Prezi’s unique slick “zooming” function offers an increasingly popular alternative to the traditional PowerPoint presentations in education and business alike. Prezi is an online, Flash-based presentation creator who shares similar functionalities with other information presentation programmes such as Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynotes. It is a visual learning tool which allows you to create maps of texts, images, videos, graphics, etc… and present them in a nonlinear way. The menu for adding elements has a very unique navigational approach and is easy to master.
Prezi’s most noticeable feature is its zoom in and out function which really brings your message to life. Instead of “flicking” from one slide to the next – as you would do in your good old PowerPoint presentation – Prezi gives you a chance to explore a canvas of ideas by focussing on minute detail as well as allowing you to see the big picture. Instead of a slide show which offers information in accumulation, Prezi favours visual learning and works very much like a graphic organiser or a mind map. Therefore, it highlights the way concepts are interconnected.
In many classrooms these days it is fair to say that PowerPoint has become the default setting for information to be communicated. As effective as it may be in presenting ideas to students, overuse of PowerPoint tends to lead to disengagement, to that “not another PowerPoint” feeling your learners (and yourself!) may experience at times... Prezi on the other hand has the WOW factor.
Here are five reasons to convince you that Prezi should be used in education:
1. Prezi creates stunning visual impact. Import pictures, maps and PDFs and use them as a canvas. With the cinematic experience of the zooming function, your students will feel like they are transported into a “world” that you have designed yourself.
2. Prezi is interactive whiteboard friendly. Designed in 2009 with the iPad in mind, it allows you to create exciting and interactive presentations with touch navigation.
3. Prezi offers more freedom of navigation. Your Prezi can be kept in the public domain and therefore accessed by your students on the Internet. At home, they can navigate the Prezi themselves, observe connections of ideas and visualise concepts.
4. Prezi is a great tool for interactive classroom sessions or group projects. Students can cooperate in real time with up to ten others, in the classroom or at home, to brainstorm and build a presentation on one shared virtual whiteboard.
5. If you already have all your notes in PowerPoint, you don’t need to start all over again. Use the PowerPoint Import feature to transfer your existing content directly into your Prezi.
In addition to the benefits listed above, Prezi offers a free educational subscription (simply use an email address that clearly belongs to your educational institution). The tutorials on the website (www.prezi.com/learn) are clear and easy to follow. The best way to learn about Prezi, though, is to have a go at creating a presentation yourself!
Here is a step-by-step guide to your first Prezi for education:
Step 1: Sign up at Prezi.com for free and click on “Create New Prezi”.
Step 2: Think of a metaphor for your message and find a suitable image on the Net. This image will become your background canvas (you can also use one of the templates available for free from the site).
Step 3: Once you have chosen a template, you will gain access to the presentation generating interface. You can click anywhere on the canvas and start typing, but it is easier if you create text fields first. They will allow you to zoom in and out with more ease.
Step 4: Personalise your text by choosing the font, size and colour. You can then move, scale and rotate your text in order to reinforce your message. Add pictures, diagrams, videos, music and sound effects.
Step 5: Edit the zooming path with the left-hand side menu, which also allows you to rehearse your presentation before saving it and exporting it.
Thanks to Prezi, you can “fly” from location to location on your chosen canvas, turning elements upside down, zooming in or out, to explore the relationship between ideas. A teacher who uses Prezi becomes a kind of painter of information. He chooses the right visual imagery to convey a memorable message. In contrast to the text-heavy, outline-based methodology of PowerPoint, Prezi packs a powerful punch and certainly deserves its place in modern education