Monday, January 24, 2011

Praise for Prezi--Zoom Zoom!

Remember when I was talking about diagrams and images and how this affects the way we think?

Well, after playing around with prezi for a few minutes, I realized that it has answered my question: yes.

I hope that everyone goes and uses prezi and never touches powerpoint again--I don't think I ever will (except for the powerpoints for ENC 3254--and I might even turn those into prezis)

But really, what is so great about Prezi? Think about what we know as an "Idea map"--those things with bubbles and branches that look like mutant spiders.We tend to think about the idea map as a "pre-writing" exercise, something that prepares to write a paper or presentation. With Prezi--pre-writing IS presentation writing. As Sid said in class today, you just start with a blank canvas and you draw the boundaries around the pieces of your presentation. There are no "slides" and no reason for "bullet points." The canvas can be organized in zig-zaggy patterns with whatever "path" you choose, which is more akin to a narrative or a route on a map than an ordered series of pages. So Prezi can cut down on a lot of time.

So you could just plunk down everything and organize it with the path (rather than 'aesthetically'--I'll address what I might mean by this soon), but you can also 'group and layer' objects so that your presentation itself looks more like a "diagram" than a linear narrative. This addresses my question about what happens when we start to stick stuff in relation to one another visually through figural relationships rather than just type lines and lines of text.

  • You would probably not write so many full sentence under bullet points
  • And your students would probably have to think more visually
  • And you wouldn't get bullet points that are basically sentence fragments strung together (like I just did)
Also, your students (or you) would be more inclined to write out a 'script' that isn't on the screen. So, students would have to listen to your words and not just write down your outline you have pasted on power point.

But Prezi is mostly entrancing to the viewer/reader because of the power of Zoom, so that you can embed 'pages' (or elements) within elements, getting all sorts of crazy ways to approach material such that the visual presentation can reinforce what you are trying to say.

The bottom line: try it for yourself

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