Thursday, September 2, 2010

Exploring Prezi

I had heard occasional references to the presentation tool called Prezi, but I never saw an example until a recent visit to a site with suggestions for creating book trailers. The presentation by Michelle Harclerode swooped around from point to point explaining the steps of creating a book trailer.

I decided to try Prezi when preparing to speak briefly at our beginning of the year staff meeting. I wanted something visual to reinforce my words. Prezi had the added advantage of capturing our teachers' attention.

So what is Prezi?
This online presentation-builder allows users to create a canvas with whatever text and images are desired. During a presentation, users can click on various elements to zoom in and focus on those details. Or users can create a specific path that takes them from element to element on the canvas.  Their getting started tutorial explains the basics fairly well.

What I've learned about using Prezi
  • Start with your big ideas and spread them around the canvas. Then add details to those main ideas.
  • Practice with just text to start. Then add pictures to create visual interest.
  • If you want a group of objects (text and/or images) to be seen at the same time, use a frame to group them.
  • Be careful with how much zooming and movement you use: The right amount creates interest, but too much creates motion-sickness.
  • Once your text and images are in place, set up just the first few steps of your path.  Then view the show to see how these elements appear.  You may realize that you want to change the grouping, size, or location of your elements.  If you like how the first few steps appear, continue to set the rest of your path.
My first Prezis:
Media Program comments: Talking points for beginning-of-the-year staff meeting.
Media Orientation: I used this Prezi the first time that classes came to check out books.  I used QuickTime to create a screencast, recording my voice as I clicked through the presentation.

Now you try!
I'd love to see your experiments with Prezi.  Share links in the comments.