We all know that it's important to incorporate technology into the 21st century classroom, and this series gives you tips on some of the most exciting, easy-to-use technology tools available so you can focus on what matters. Today we'll look at Prezi, an intuitive presentation software that teachers can use to liven up their presentations and push students to the next level. Step aside, PowerPoints and flip charts: there's a new tool in town.
The "Zoom" Factor
Prezi is an affordable presentation software that allows teachers and students to create dynamic presentations that "zoom" through written and visual content. The unique format can generate more interest than a basic PowerPoint presentation as well as allow students to flex their creative and critical thinking muscles when designing their own presentations individually or in groups.
Since Prezi arrived on the scene, many educators, parents, and students alike have praised the unique format and credited it with bringing liveliness and interest to classroom lectures and presentations. While some argue that the bells and whistles may distract students from the actual content, others make a case for the engaging, interactive format, claiming that it can help visual learners brainstorm more purposefully than traditional bulleted lists in a PowerPoint slide can. Like all technological tools, Prezi won't be a panacea for your class: you'll have to apply your knowledge of your individual students in order to figure out who might get distracted and who might thrive in the driver's seat of a Prezi presentation.
Nuts and Bolts: How to Use Prezi in Your Classroom
Prezi is a relatively affordable web-based program, and discounts for educational licenses are available on their site. Depending on your technological set-up at school, you can use Prezi in a number of different ways:
- Smartboard Savvy. Prezi is perfect for bringing your lectures to life. Use Prezi instead of Powerpoint to better engage students at the start of a new unit. Be sure to build in checks for understanding and opportunities for students to write, think, and talk about the new ideas along the way. While Prezi is a cool new tool, nothing can replace the value of rigorous, teacher-led questioning to make sure the material isn't missing the mark.
- Computer Lab Creation. If your school is outfitted with a computer lab, try bringing your whole class there for a lesson in how to use Prezi. The site offers a number of free tutorials that students can follow along with at school and practice at home.
- Student Presentations. From group work to individual presentations, assigning students a Prezi presentation is a serious upgrade from the tried-and-true poster. Since Prezi is web-based, students can work on their projects from their home computers or from a library's internet browser. Be sure to set clear guidelines for content and provide adequate time for students to learn how to use this tool so they don't get overwhelmed by the "zoom" and forget about showing off what they've learned.