Review by Stephanie Vobornik
Imagine standing in front of group of your peers about to share the news of the newest and greatest Web 2.0 tool available to educators. Then imagine presenting that newest technology using the same presentation software that has been used for the past 20 years…it seems like somewhat of a contradiction. However, Prezi can change that. Prezi, is a web-based presentation tool developed in Budapest and launched in 2009. Prezi offers its’ users the flexibility and creativity that other presentation software does not. With Prezi almost anything is possible. The days of old-fashioned linear template based presentations are over; Prezi has given them a make-over!
Prezi presentations start with a completely blank canvas. Text, images, video and diagrams can easily be added the presentation. The application features a “zebra tool” that allows the creator of the presentation to move, resize and turn any of the components in a presentation. The application has a zooming feature which can be used to create dramatic effects and keep audiences interested. Prezi uses a non-linear approach to presentation creation allowing audiences to see the big picture, but also gives the presenter the ability to “zoom-in” to the details. By using frames, the presenter can group concepts and ideas together, keeping the presentation organized and easy to follow. After creating all of the key concepts and frames within the presentation “paths” can be added which allow the presenter to move easily and seamlessly through the presentation. However, unlike the linear-template based presentation programs any path can be left at any time and a different area of the presentation can be easily explored. Prezi even has the ability to allow, in real-time, up to 10 people to work together on a presentation simultaneously.
Prezi offers 3 different levels of the tool: Public, Enjoy and Pro. With the Enjoy and Pro Versions content can be made private and your own logo or company logo can be placed instead of Prezis. The cost of the application ranges from free-$159/year for the Pro Version. For educators Prezi does offer the Enjoy version of the application for free through a special educator license.
Some of the benefits of using Prezi include the enormous flexibility the application offers. Presenters are no longer tied to a sequence of slides, but instead presentations and discussions can be more interactive and natural because it is possible to easily move about the presentation.
Prezi gives the visual learners the ability to see the overall big picture of where the presentation is going without giving away the details until the presenter is ready to reveal them. There are extensive tutorials, presentations and a Prezi manual online and even support through Twitter to help the newbie or seasoned Prezi user create the best presentation possible. Presentations can even be stored offline for later use, or can be easily embedded in an online portfolio, blog or wiki.
Weaknesses/Drawbacks of Prezi:
While the flexibility of starting with a “blank canvas” for many is inspiring, for some people this is very intimidating. Despite the great tutorials and manuals out there for some the learning curve is too steep. Additionally, the zoom-feature that can capture the audience and really make a bold statement to its audience, if overdone or not done well, can be more of a distraction than an enhancement. Because the concept of Prezi is so different than the template based tools used for the past 20 years the tool runs the risk of being rejected by traditionalists.
Other drawbacks include the application’s sophistication, or lack-of, depending upon who you talk to. For the non-techie type, the learning curve is steep, however, for those with advanced programming skills the application is not sophisticated enough. Additionally, on the free version Prezi does not offer the option to add audio to the presentation.
Prezi allows its’ users to be creative and design a presentation on anything and even incorporate multi-media into the presentation. This enables learners to demonstrate their understanding of the material and showcase their learning through both verbal and pictorial presentation. Rather than just engaging a group in a discussion about the role of project management, an instructor might require the students to apply their readings and demonstrate their understanding by creating a presentation using Prezi that can be shared with the class or posted on the class wiki or blog.
Learning Objective Example:
Consider an online Project Management Course in which learners are required to demonstrate their understanding of the role of project management in an organization. Students could demonstrate their understanding of the concept be creating a presentation using Prezi.
Students will demonstrate their understanding of the role of project management in an organization by creating a comprehensive presentation using Prezi and posting it to the course Wiki.
Prezi, is a very new presentation tool that has the ability to transform how we create and present material for the 21st century.
This application provides flexibility and creativity that is endless to the creator, and has the ability to spark creativity and more spontaneity than its predecessors. This tool would enable learners to demonstrate their understanding of materials and share it with others, and enable instructors to effectively evaluate the learners’ competence.
Prezi Homepage. Retrieved from www.prezi.com on January 29, 2011.