Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 7 -- Prezi -- A Slick Presentation Tool

Today's guest blogger is Kevin Gill, 6th grade math teacher at Edgewood Junior High School. Kevin's post about how he is using Prezi in his classroom follows this short introduction to Prezi.

In education, when we plan to have students do a presentation for class or when you, the teacher, plan an instructional presentation, most automatically think of PowerPoint. That has become the norm. But now there are other options, including Prezi. Here's a short intro to Prezi.

A few quick things about Prezi before moving on to Kevin and his Prezi experience. First, it is cloud-based so there's no need to store your presentation on a USB drive or e-mail it to yourself. Yay! Next, if you sign up for a standard account you get 100mb of FREE online storage. You can also sign up as an educator or student here and get 500mb of FREE storage. (If you already have a standard Prezi account you can change to a 500mb Enjoy account by logging in to your account, clicking on Settings and License and clicking on Upgrade.) As you get started using Prezi you might benefit from their tutorial videos. And last, to get a better idea of what a Prezi is, take a look at these education examples.

No matter what subject you teach, many projects assigned to your students will culminate with each group presenting their results. Last year, when I was teaching Social Studies and Mathematics, I had my students participate in the Amazing Race. Each group had to keep track of their finances as they made their way through the most significant cities, human-made wonders and natural wonders of the three continents covered in the sixth grade standards. Here’s the video a friend of mine helped me create for use as an entry event for the class.

The students enjoyed this project, and ended up learning a lot about the areas we were studying by researching which locations and landmarks their group thought could be considered the most significant. From the beginning, the groups knew they would have to present their results to the class and a panel of judges (parents, administrators, and any teachers that were on prep and willing). The judges would then choose the best presentations and the winning groups would earn a small prize. Microsoft’s PowerPoint would be a natural choice of presentation tool for this process, but the year before I had learned about Prezi.com and was blown away by how simple, yet sophisticated it was.

Here’s a video called "Top 5 Reasons to use Prezi instead of PowerPoint."

I decided to make Prezi the medium each group would use to present their results. While that decision took away some of the open-endedness of the project, I knew Prezi was something I wanted all the students to learn more about. I was not disappointed. By the time the students were halfway through creating their presentations, they were the ones teaching me and the rest of the class how to work through different issues that would arise in Prezi. I could have imagined what most of the presentations would have looked like if they’d used PowerPoint, but the creativity the students were able to use in their Prezis made each one unique. If you haven’t experienced Prezi yet, take some time to check it out. Your students will not be disappointed. Learn more here.
The Challenge
Have you used Prezi? Do you see advantages to using that instead of a program like PowerPoint? Who's going to try Prezi? Are you going to use it to present to your students or are you going to have your students complete a project using Prezi?


  1. Does Prezi allow MathType to build equations?

  2. I can't wait to try Prezi in my Social Studies classroom! Timelines,webs, notes, and maps will be more interesting. Even better, I have a Smartboard so students can go up to the board and put the prezi in "motion" themselves, allowing them more interaction and in some cases, choices about which topics to study first.

  3. I'm always surprised at the number of students that have never seen a PowerPoint. They watch the presentation like it was a firework display on the fourth of July.

    After PowerPoint loses its flare, I use Prezi to gain my students' attention. A lot of the students are amazed by its bouncing progression. From the Prezi I use to teach extended-response writing for math, I was able to inspire a student to complete a Prezi presentation on the State of Indiana.

    Extended-Response Prezi

    Under the Indiana State Project post, a student Prezi can be found in my classroom blog space.

  4. I use Prezi all the time. It's easy and has quite an impact on an audience. Another tool similar to Prezi is Ahead. www.ahead.com. It works like Prezi but has the ability to customize a little more. There's a larger learning curve as it deals with layers similar to the Adobe products, but it's still quite cool.