Prezi is a great presentation tool for spicing up the mundane PowerPoint that you’ve been using for the past 10 years. It allows for new kinds of visualizations and opportunities to link imagery to motion, which in turn creates a deeper understanding and retention duration.
With any technology, there are advantages and disadvantages that exist. Take a look at some of the ones I have come up with and then from there, you can weigh out the pros and cons to decide if Prezi is something worth adding to your classroom cannon.
1. Breaks the Mold
Prezi is not your typical slide-based presentation tool. You start with a blank canvas and can add and manipulate content anywhere on the page. There is no such thing as a linear, slide-by-slide display method (unless you design it that way, of course). Break the mold and present in unique ways. It even lets you import your existing PowerPoint presentations for conversion!
2. It’s Free and Web-Based
Prezi is completely free. Compared to PowerPoint, which is both a paid application and not accessible everywhere, Prezi provides access from any web-enabled computer. This is great for students who may not have the Office suite on their home computers. Students and staff can easily create Free accounts on Prezi using their Facebook accounts as well.
Always consider what technology resources kids have at home. Many will not have the extensive software libraries available to them like the school computers. Make sure you use free web resources if you expect them to complete assignments at home.
3. Link Text and Images to Movement
One of my favorite aspects of Prezi (assuming it is used correctly) is the ability to have movement actually become part of the presentation. For instance, if you are talking about ‘Imagery,’ you can have Prezi zoom in (past the word Imagery) and display examples of the imagery you are discussing. The movement relates to the terms and examples, creating a visual link for the students.
4. Appropriate for All Ages
The web-based software is designed with all ages in mind. The simple icon-based design tools ensures that any age group will be successful in creating and presenting new creations. I have always been a proponent of teaching young kids how to use new technology – and Prezi certainly makes that easier with their simple design interface.
5. Shows Students You’re “Up-to-date” with Technology
It sounds so simple (and somewhat deflating) but your students really do pay attention to the teaching tools you use. By staying current with new technology, more often than not your students will appreciate the change of pace from the tools they are seeing used in all their other classes (and what they’ve seen for the past few years of their schooling). Take a chance and try something new – if it fails miserably (which it won’t) they will appreciate you for trying something that breaks the mold.
1. Can Cause Motion Sickness
Yes, you read it correctly. A few complaints I’ve gotten about Prezi is that it makes some people feel a little dizzy. This is totally avoidable if you know what you’re doing when designing your presentation, though. Consider your transitions and make sure that you aren’t constantly moving from one corner of the presentation board to the other (thus generating expansive fly-overs). Making simple moves from one screen area to the next will eliminate the nauseating effects of cross-screen movement.
2. More of a Learning Curve
I hesitated including this in the list for the reason that I don’t agree with not doing something because you have to learn how to do it. I think that is part of growing as an individual and as an educator. As with anything new, there is a learning curve and in the event that you may not have the time to learn the tool yourself and then teach it to your students, you may want to pass on Prezi. In this situation, you could easily include Prezi as an option among presentation tools. This gives students the option to teach themselves but does not require them to learn something new to complete their assignment.
I know I included this as an advantage, but there are certain circumstances where it can be a disadvantage as well. If you have limited wireless internet access, or if your internet connection at your building is unreliable, a web-based tool may become more of a hassle than its worth. One nice thing that Prezi allows is exporting of your completed presentation, making it viewable offline. This is recommended for anyone relying on the Prezi for class or a presentation as it can be used as a backup should your internet fail.
Overall, Prezi is a great tool that many would find very useful in the classroom. Have any advantages or disadvantages that weren’t shared above? Please share them in the comments below!