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Prezi is a free online presentation creation tool, and I was blown away when I first discovered Prezi.  It is such a departure from the traditional slide model of giving presentations that it makes people pay attention.  It also forces you to use good design strategies because of the way everything is laid out.  I also like how it handles collaboration with groups of students – they each get a mini avatar that shows what they are doing on the screen to the other members of the group.  Check out an example of a Prezi:

Learning Curve: Easy

When you create your first prezi, the program offers you a tutorial on how to use the program.  DO IT!  Encourage all your students to do the tutorial too!  It takes under 10 minutes and will give you all the skills you need to creat a great Prezi.

Upsides:

  1. Free
  2. Collaboration is a breeze
  3. Easy to master
  4. Handles multi-media like a pro
  5. Has a cool factor

Downsides:

  1. Limited options (no music, automatic transitions)
  2. Showing can sometimes be a hassle without some pre-planning
  3. Everybody needs to sign up for an account
  4. Doesn’t play nicely with presentation “clickers”

Nitty Gritty Guide

Setting Up

You have four choices when you and your students sign-up for Prezi.  My suggestion is that you take the time to sign up for the educator account, but that your students stick with the public account unless you plan on doing a lot of presentations.  It is much simpler for the students to sign up for the public account.  They will all need to sign up – don’t let them share logins.

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As I said earlier, when you open your first Prezi, it will offer you the chance to take the tutorial.
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Take the Tutorial.  I mean it.  Seriously.  The only things to add to their excellent tutorial is to keep the spinning to a minimum so that your audience doesn’t get seasick, and that students (and you) need to double and triple check their path.

Collaboration

There are two ways to share your prezi for editing.  If you are already editing, at the top of the page is button that says “meeting” click on it and then click on “invite to edit.”
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Way number two, if you have exited your prezi there is a button on the bottom that says “edit together.”
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This simply gives you a link that you can e-mail to your collaborators and then you can all play together at the same time on your Prezi!

Viewing

In order of Preference:
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Option 1:  Have students invite you to view the presentation and then go through them online through your computer or iPad.
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Option 2: If you have a teacher website or Google sites page, you can embed the presentations for everybody to see.  Get students to get the embed code from the share button (above) and then paste the code into your website.  This is a more technical endeavor, but it is nice to enable students to see each others Prezis in one place.  Word of advice, don’t put too many on one webpage or your load times will slow to a crawl.
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Option 3: Download the Prezi Desktop and have students download the presentation and then send them to you.
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That’s it!  Enjoy your new Prezilicious presentations!
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