Prezi is on online software program that provides you with a new method of presenting information. It’s strength, as you will see, is that it works in non-linear fashion, as opposed to a standard PowerPoint presentation. As a result, it can better engage your students as they grapple with the information you wish to teach them.
Presentation technology has certainly evolved in the 31 years I have been involved in chiropractic academia. There was a time when I used a mimeograph machine to make copies of information for students. This was supplanted in the early 1980s by the use of slide technology. We had slides in carousels that we took to class. We turned off the lights and clicked through our slides. It was costly to make them (and often they were converted from overhead projections we had made earlier) , and it took special expertise to photograph pictures from texts, but make them we did. Then I got my first computer, back in 1984, a Macintosh 2e. The world changed! I could begin to make my own graphics, from drawing and paint programs, and later from clip art and online sources. PowerPoint became ascendant (as did its detractors- see my old columns on Death by PowerPoint). Today, virtually all faculty at Palmer who teach in a lecture hall use PowerPoint in one way or another and for better or for worse. And PowerPoint is strictly linear; you move from slide to slide and from bullet point to bullet point. Where Prezi differs is that it allows for movement. The screen has layers and you can zoom in and out and around those layers.
Prezi describes itself as a digital storytelling tool. In the instruction book that I have (1), the author makes the following comment: “Most slide programs dictate a process. They’re set up to organize material for a presenter to talk about in a linear fashion, which is great for the presenter but not always great for the audience. Prezi, on the other hand, uses content to create a story line. With Prezi, the organization of the material doesn’t dictate a particular process- the story does.”
Prezi requires you to think differently about how you wish to present material. Next week I will provide a bit of information on how to get going with it, but for this week, let me leave you with a link to a Prezi presentation on its many uses. Simply go to http://prezi.com/jipjiqvj6dsc/about-perspective/ and click on play to begin seeing how you might incorporate this technology into your classroom settings. Enjoy!
1. Diamond S. Prezi for dummies. Hoboken, NJ; Wiley and Sons, 2010.