Thursday, October 29, 2009

Using Prezi to create a Presentation

A few weeks ago it was Open House on NC State's campus and for the first time I was asked to talk about the technology we have at the College of Education. I dutifully made my "Presentation Zen" style PowerPoint and showed up for the rehearsal. I had completely forgotten that I had taught the other presenters how to make PowerPoint Zen-like and they wanted to know why I wasn't push the envelope! I was even challenged to use "something like Prezi" to make a big splash. Now I already had my presentation finished, so I kept that as my back-up and decided to try out Prezi.

First of all, I found Prezi to be unlike any other presentation tool I had ever used, and I mean that in a good and bad way. For the first time in a long time I found myself going through the tutorials and watching the videos to see how this thing worked. It was almost a blessing that I had already done my PP, because without that organization I would have been lost. Prezi really does force you to have an outline before you start. Once I got going it was fairly easy, but it still took a while to work out the kinks.

My lessons learned are:
  1. I tended to use words more with Prezi than I typically do. But words almost as "art."
  2. Images that do not have hard edges, or have a white background that matches work better (Think every image of a Mac you've ever seen :)
  3. You can group objects utilizing frames, otherwise it just zooms into one object in particular
  4. When you rotate an object on your grid, that is what causes the camera to rotate and zoom. In other words, it may be angling to the left on your grid, but during the presentation it will zoom and look upright.
  5. The Prezi style doesn't fit every presentation
The last lesson is the most signifigant for me - there are times when Prezi really just won't organizationally work. I really like using more visuals, and that just didn't seem to suit this program. I still want to play with it a bit more, and I do have to say that the "Wow" factor during the presentation did make it worthwhile, but "Wow" factors fade eventually.

On a side note, several furture students and their parents came to talk to me about Prezi, and one student had even made one before! How cool is that!