Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Who Can Help Mildred Get Her Prezi On?

Can anyone else figure out how the frack to use Prezi? Occasionally I poke at it a bit, and then I go back to Powerpoint. Admittedly, these times happen most frequently when I am lying overwhelmed under a pile of marking.

But honestly? There does not seem to be an easy way to do, well, anything. Even though the swooshiness of the final presentation would be cool, if it took less than 12 hours to get there.

More generally: does anyone use anything but Powerpoint/Keynote, really? And if you do use anything else, what is it, and why do you like it?

N.B. if you're a purist who only uses a blackboard and chalk by choice, don't tell me. Just don't. I can't draw all those little pictures that fast.






17 comments:

  1. Prezi = Motion Sickness
    I think it's more important that presentations are clear and engaging, see Garr Reynolds and Presentation Zen.
    I get the sense that some students dislike Zen Style Slides because there is little to 'copy' - but that's the point.

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    1. Those are the exact words that came to my mind! I have used Prezi quite a bit, but my more mature students never seemed to like it. I use PowerPoint, SlideRocket, and (sometimes) Softchalk. When I write on the board, my writing slopes upward so bad my students get tickled, and if you get me in front of group I can't draw a decent square (although my stickmen are pretty good, if I do say so myself).

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  2. I, too, have heard that Prezi can cause problems for some people (motion sickness, and also triggering migraines, perhaps even seizures). I've seen a few presentations (both colleague and student) using it, and I wasn't wowed. I'm probably a rather linear thinker, but there are times when I like a good graphical concept map, with the ability to enlarge parts as needed, which I think is what Prezi is meant to be/do. But I haven't seen it actually done, at least not well.

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    1. Some links on the subject here: http://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/dear-rboc-4/ . (I may have hallucinated the seizure issue, but migraines and motion sickness, as well as general dislike of the tool and its results, are mentioned, with links).

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    2. I'd never heard of Prezi until now. But when I followed the link and read the description "a flashier version of Powerpoint", my first thought was "Run away!" One of the biggest challenges of the student presentations in my Advanced Hamster Husbandry Seminar is getting students to take all the distracting swishes and swoops out of their presentations. The last thing I need is more ways for the students to put them back again

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  3. As an experiment and just to be mean, during the entire lecture, anytime I wrote on the board, I did it in cursive. My students hated it, as they said they don't learn cursive anymore in grade school.

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    1. Brilliant! I'm never printing anything every again.

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  4. I enjoy Prezi because it stores it in the cloud so if I forget my flash drive I'm not screwed.

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    1. This is one of the good things about Prezi. I also like the ability to turn it into a graphic map. But overall, I don't really care for it. I don't like all of the motion and swirling, and I feel like the interface is really clunky and confusing.

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  5. I hesitate to state the obvious, but Prezi is like any technological tool: it can be used well or badly. You can use a hammer to build a house or bash a head in, and you can use Prezi to convey information in creative, engaging ways or to spark mass headaches and nausea.

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  6. I was an early adopter of Prezi because I use timelines a lot in my discipline, and PowerPoint doesn't lend itself to timelines. With a Prezi, you have unlimited width and can zoom in for details. I'm also prone to motion sickness and had a lot of trial and error with what works or not.

    But Prezi keeps changing its user interface and has deleted tools I liked. For example, there's no longer a drawing tool. I don't like having to relearn a program every time I want to use it.

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    1. I used Prezi all of once, because of the timelines! And then I couldn't find my way back to the the middle. I realized it had taken me 3 times as long to type it up in Prezi as it would have taken me to draw on the board.

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    2. Yeah, the learning curve with Prezi is steep. That's why it bugs me that they keep changing the interface and tools.

      Drawing the timelines on the board also has the advantage of showing students how to do it. Lately I do both: one on the board, and then the Prezi. I like the result. It prompts me to remember to present etymologies, and allows me to expand the parts of a timeline where lots of relevant stuff happened.

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  7. While not as interactive as Prezi, PowerPoint user can create a timeline with SmartArt (Office 2010, not sure about earlier versions)- the chevrons are rather nifty.

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  8. I like the near-infinite canvas aspect of Prezi, and the ability to demonstrate relationships by size and location. Maps and timelines are its forte, as you can cram a bunch of things into what appears to be a single point on a map for you to zoom-in on. An annotatable Prezi with better PDF and video incorporation would be great.

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