My job requires me to build content for classes that I then also deliver. I create ten or classes are year and up to about a month ago, I was using Power Point for them all. Going through the motions, creating slide after slide. I tried to find the right balance between giving them the needed information and not overloading the slides. Also because of the nature of my classes a great deal of layering needs to be understood. For example, when you create a supervisory organization, you need to define staffing model, depending on staffing model you need to either create hiring restrictions or create a job requisition and position to hire. Showing these relationships in PPT (Power Point) required me to do a lot of talking because slides could not actually move in a manner to show these connections.
This is where Prezi came into play. I was amid building yet another course and finding it increasingly frustrating to connect the dots that needed to be connected in this case linking compensation elements in Workday. There is only so much animation can do. After some research, a few YouTube videos, I determined that Prezi would do the trick. There is a learning curve, but it is no greater than first learning how to correctly use PPT -a lot of people do not use it correctly- with Prezi there are many tutorials not only on their website but on YouTube.
After signing up, which I won’t go into because it’s straightforward the Prezi landing page allows you to start working with a template or create your own template.
Note: I am using the free version and paid versions may look different than above.
Because of my unique business requirements, I opted to create a new Prezi.
I am given the option of once again choosing a template or starting with a blank Prezi, a blank Prezi fits in with my requirements.
Note: Unfortunately, due to the propriety nature of the training material I create I cannot give a direct example of what was created using Prezi but the following will be an example.
At first glance Prezi may seem like what we all try to avoid when creating PPT, but each of the circles can be clicked in an order that allows the concepts to be connected. The user is visually queued into the connections and the ideas are built and layered upon.
In Prezi, you can go into present mode much like PPT but instead of going from slide to slide Prezi uses a layered approach to interconnect ideas, drill down further on concepts and zoom in on pictures. One thing that is important that although Prezi can help to keep your audience focused it will not make a bad presentation good. Being able to layer and zoom does not mitigate having too much or not enough information on the screen. This is a tool and should be used to help a presentation.
Prezi is a good substitute for PPT because of the ability to employ creativity into the lesson. Being able to interconnect ideas while remaining on a single slide, showing the learner a physical connection is a good method for the visual learners and can bring more clarity to even those that are auditory learners. Although Prezi doesn’t necessarily account for Kinetic learners, the motion of information may suffice for those types of learners as well as they get the sense of tactile interaction with the information using the zooming in and out functions, the movement from one bit of information. Prezi allows a non-linear presentation, PPT can be used to present non-linear ideas, but the very structure is flat and linear.
Prezi can be incorporated through the SAMR model. Prezi doesn’t necessarily have to be a pen to paper substitution but can also substitute PPT or other presenting tools. Prezi then augments the previous application whether it be PPT or an overhead projector with transparences and incorporates a more advanced technological experience. Modification really depends on what Prezi is being used for, and how the learners consume the information versus the previous method. In my line of work the redefinition really does come with being able to make those visual connections that I currently can only make verbally. While the verbal connections will not cease, this addition of visual connections can open a broader learning opportunity and reach a bigger segment of learners by covering at least two learning styles.
As with any tool Prezi isn’t perfect. The first being that Prezi is a bit pricey. There is a free option that does not allow the user to upload their own branding. This facet is especially difficult for my line of work. The pricing structure has three paid levels with varying features based on price. For educators and education institutions Prezi does have a pricing structure. The education lowest level does not include all the features of the paid lowest level. I would implore them to make the features equal. If educators are to use this tool for instruction it is imperative that they have access to support even when on the free version.
Secondly this is a web app. The desktop app which is probably what most educators will want to have, is only available with the pro subscription, meaning there is no free version of desktop Prezi with either the regular price structure or the education structure. Allowing a non web based alternative is an important aspect. Institutions may already be paying for a Office subscription, adding additional expenses may not be an option and therefore they may opt to stay with other presentation tools if Prezi does not allow a desktop application that is free of charge.