My PowerPoints had become “ho-hum”, and bored even me. So, I have been transitioning to Prezi over the past year, with positive outcomes and student feedback. They have become enjoyable to develop, and appear to hold student interest to a great extent. My students have learned to make Prezis as well, have found them fairly easy to create.
There are a number of advantages to the using Prezi. Beyond the creative, non-linier format already mentioned, Prezi is a free web-based tool that can easily be shared with others, accessed and edited as long as there is internet access. Accounts are free, which provides students who perhaps are unable to afford the MS Office Suite (with PowerPoint included) with another option. It has intuitive features, for example, frames may easily be inserted or relocated and Prezi re-sequences the order. Frames may be inserted anywhere on the page, and there are options in design around the frames. There are templates available, and is easy to create presentations with a little practice. Enlarged images of choice may be used instead of templates and frames may be added wherever the creator decides. Real-time, help tools on the screen assist as needed and tutorials available. Students easily insert their images and video. Fonts, colors and style choices add an additional creative flair.
An additional feature that is especially appreciated is that students can work collaboratively on any given presentation. The collaboration sidebar and use of avatars enables students to co-create and co-edit.
While I am clearly a believer in the use of this tool, it is not without its challenges. As easy as it has become now with experience, I recall the days when I was new to Prezi. It is not as simple as PowerPoint to create, and this may be a problem when facilitating project completion with students when there is not much time available. I would suggest that the teacher use it first to create their own before teaching the students. Perhaps the teacher could create a short Prezi to teach one concept or replace some PowerPoint slides. I recall starting small like this, and becoming better at it with practice, as with anything else. Templates make it very easy, but once the teacher becomes comfortable, any image can have frames inserted on it, and the content can quickly become more engaging and fun to make!
One other challenge -- PowerPoints do not easily upload into Prezi, and I actually do not even try that. I continue to use the PowerPoint presentations that are my better ones. I find myself using Prezi more frequently now when creating new content, and encourage my students to use it too.
Here is a Prezi I completed this past summer and perhaps it will spark so additional interest: http://prezi.com/ch1mp6s1or9d/utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share. I have found that many of my students already know Prezi, and those that do not, seem to figure it out quickly. Finally, there are a few helpful links here: