Thursday, September 23, 2010

My first Prezi

My husband teases me sometimes when we have company and I search out new recipes. Of course it would make sense to make things for guests that I had already tested. Does that mean I'm not afraid of failure? Or just that I don't like the recipes I've already tested?

I suppose I was following the same instinct when it came to a recent presentation to the staff, and ended up going with something entirely new to me. I had chosen my month to present specifically so that I could get it done while on a long break. I took most of the photos and gathered input from my department last year. I wrote the script and put together a PowerPoint over the summer.

Because I felt it needed more oomph, in the fall I went back to an idea rejected in June that had to do with Photostory (just because I like Photostory) and audio quotes from students. But I had  reservations about being able to make the PowerPoint and the Photostory work together with the resources I had gathered.

Then I got an e-mail from my husband, who knew I was pondering all these things, about a "cool presentation tool." I had seen Prezi quite a while ago, but it had seemed complicated, and it never even came to mind as a possible way to present for this. But the moment Paul told me about a Prezi given at work that somehow seemed "more interesting," I knew the PowerPoint was history. And pretty soon Paul knew that he had gotten himself into a commitment to help me learn the new software and put together my program. Once I saw the page-long instructions for converting audio files to video for use in Prezis, I knew that I would need assistance for that part. Apart from the added audio, however, I found the program fairly intuitive and easy to use.

This was approximately six days before the presentation. In that time I had to solicit comments from students (I e-mailed them over a weekend), narrow down the comments and get students to record the quotes I wanted, learn how to do a Prezi, build the Prezi with files I had used for the PowerPoint, and take a few more photos to plug in a couple of places.

Later a colleague asked why Prezi is better than PowerPoint. There are features I didn't fully make use of such as layering, framing, drawing, or moving around with ease to specific points in the presentation, that I think add to functionality. But mostly I had to admit that it's partly because it's new, and I just think it's cool.

The presentation was well-received, and some of my colleagues inquired about the software. But what worked perfectly on my home PC was a little clunky on the laptop at school, and couple of the pans were not very smooth. 

There are a lot of Prezis online, but a quick search showed me that one has to do a bit of sifting to find good ones on a particular topic. I searched for "sacraments" and found one with misspelled words, another that had so much panning across the space that it made one dizzy, and some that were just incomplete attempts.

I don't really use PowerPoint much , but if I wanted to do a visual presentation in class, or perhaps some resources to post on Moodle, I'd like to experiment more with Prezi.

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