Melissa Giddins

Exploring technology and literacy in education.

New tool: Prezi.Com

A success story for you.

I wanted to give my students an opportunity to use their laptops to synthesise information from a brainstorm and wanted to get them to learn a new skill for something relatively easy so that we could utilise the tool for something more difficult later. I chose Prezi as the tool that we would learn. Prezi.Com creates a presentation that is very different to the linear nature of PowerPoint and gives students the opportunity to think more about visual techniques including reading paths and hierarchies of importance.

The lesson went very well and being such a positive experience, I decided that it was a tool that was going on my list of good ideas and useful tools. Here is the process we followed:

  1. I created a Prezi (prior to the lesson) and showed it to the students so that they had a demonstration of a possible end product.
  2. On the Interactive White Board (IWB) we went to the Prezi.Com website and I showed the students the first two YouTube videos available under the Learn tab on the website.
  3. Students then signed up and created an account of their own and began creating Prezis – it took only a few minutes to sign up.
  4. Students worked on their prezis and once satisfied with the finished product, gave the link to me and it was posted on our Moodle page so that everyone could look at each other’s work.

Here are two examples of the students’ finished products:

Some tips for the new user:

  1. Students will have to sign up and create an account before they can use it. The good news is that there is no requirement to activate the account through the email address prior to being able to use Prezi, which means they create their account and can then start creating a Prezi immediately, and they don’t need to worry about using their DET email account or being able to access their email at school.
  2. The first two YouTube videos under the Learn tab on the website are very useful to show to the class. The first one you may even want to show twice, depending on the age of the class and their overall “savvy” factor.
  3. When they begin to create their first prezi, the first YouTube video begins to play and it needs to be closed (with the big red X in the top right corner of the video) before students can start creating their prezi. On the DERNSW laptops getting to that big red X can be difficult.  You will need to close two or three of the toolbars at the top – look for a little “x” on the far left of the toolbar and click on it, then when the dialogue box comes up, click on”Disable”. That may be enough for some laptops, but for others I had to autohide the toolbar at the bottom of the screen as well in order to see the X so that we could close the video and students could start working on their prezi. To autohide the toolbar at the bottom of the screen, right click on the toolbar, choose Properties and from the options tick Autohide.
  4. Getting the URL from the students for their prezi was a little tricky as they were wanting to copy and paste the URL from the top of the page. This is the WRONG one! The student should go into My Account and click on their presentation. On the bottom right hand side of the dialogue box that opens there is a URL written there with the words COPY LINK written next to it. If you click on the copy link button it acts like you have highlighted the link and clicked copy, now you can choose paste in either an email, onto a word page, etc and the link will be pasted there. I had students paste the link into Edmodo and I copied it into our Moodle page from there.

Following my experience I would also make the following recommendations:

  1. Take the time to either create a model or find one on Prezi.Com to show the students. It helps them to understand what it can do and what you want.
  2. Allow plenty of time to show the YouTube videos, have them sign up, deal with any difficulties such as the toolbars needing to be closed, etc before they actually start creating the prezi. I allowed two lessons in total (50 minutes each lesson) and there were still some students that didn’t quite finish and will be completing them for homework across this week. I have a fairly savvy class and the prezi was only simple that they were required to make, so you may need to allow more time than this.

Prezi.Com was a success with my Year 10 English class and I shall be using it again with other classes I am sure.

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May 19, 2010 - Posted by | Digital Education Revolution (DER), Laptops 4 Learning, Web 2.0 tools | , ,

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