I had a go at using Prezi for my presentation at the Effective Learning in the Biosciences in Conference in Edinburgh last week. This was the first time I had used Prezi outside my own Institution and I provide below some of my reflections and thoughts on its use as a presentation tool, especially in the educational context.
1. To use Prezi you need to visit the Prezi website and register for an account which is free for educational use. You may author your presentations online and then download the entire presentation when you are ready to show it to your audience. A paid option allows you to download a desktop version of the authoring software, but my experience to date has been with the free version.
2. With Prezi you can use text, upload images, video and incorporate You Tube video in your presentation. Note of caution, when showing your Prezi you must be connected to the internet if you have used You Tube video otherwise it will not work. A workaround is to to upload video in avi or wmv format as this is then embedded in the final presentation.
3. Elements in your presentation can be made larger or smaller depending on the importance you want to give to each one. You then link the elements together using the “path” function so that the presentation flows in the order you want. The best way to see this is action is to use the tutorials or example presentations on the Prezi site.
4. The “sea sick” factor. I was concerned when I was constructing my presentation that I might need to distribute Stugeron (or similar medication) to my audience in advance. The zoom-in-and-out functions of Prezi provide some attraction and can be attention grabbing, but used too much can become a distraction and may make your audience feel queasy.
5. For me the jury is still out on just how I will use Prezi, especially in the teaching context. I think that it would be valuable if used sparingly to explain concepts where you wanted to firstly show the “big picture” and then to zoom in on the detail of constituent parts. One example on the Prezi site uses this in the context of anatomy of the human body etc.
6. Reusing PowerPoint. For my presentation I exported some PowerPoint slides as jpeg’s and used these linking them with relatively short paths and with not a lot of zoomng in and out. This is therefore a halfway house between PowerPoint and Prezi (PreziPoint??).
A link to my Prezi is given below; just click on the image. Any feedback would be gratefully received.