Start of the Year Presentations using Prezi

As the school year gets off to a start, many educators are thinking of ways to create new interactive presentations that capture student interest and build deep understandings. In the past, many educators created slides in Microsoft PowerPoint, but today, many of them are looking for something new that will create greater student engagement and retention. A more modern and interactive presentation tool exists by the name of Prezi. Prezi offers an alternative way to make presentations more user-friendly and more memorable. First of all, Prezi is an online creation tool that allows for presentations to be created and saved to the cloud so the presentations can be accessed by any web-enabled computer. Second, Prezi uses templates comprised of movable frames that progress along a path. The path creates a visual link for viewers to follow and helps them retain successive informational steps. These frames also allow viewers to dig deeper into an idea within each successive frame advancement. Third, Prezi is formatted to move through content in a non-linear way rather than following a series of slides. For example, the user has the freedom to create frames anywhere on a blank canvas and add and manipulate the content within each frame. This gives the user the freedom to think and create in logical and creative patterns that allow for greater depths of learning for the viewer. Fourth, Prezi was designed with the user in mind. The tool menus and icons are very user-friendly and allow the user to be able to access and manipulate the content of frames very easily. Using a new platform for a presentation can feel somewhat intimidating; however, your students will see that you are trying to use more modern presentation tools and that you’re willing to try a newer method of presentation to attempt to maximize student learning and retention. Your students will enjoy learning in this new and creative way.

The first step is to set up an account. Go to: https://prezi.com Prezi has a free account as well as some paid accounts from which to select. The basic membership is called “Public” and it is free. The “Public” account is perfect for educators because it has effective online storage and the presentations can be viewed by anyone. Prezi also has an “Enjoy” and “Pro” account that have membership fees. Both “Enjoy” and “Pro” allow for more online storage as well as the ability to make presentations private. Another option is to download the free Prezi iPad app. Viewing a Prezi on an iPad is more effective for one individual viewer or a small group of viewers; however, the iPad allows for easy zooming and manipulating using finger swipes. Set-up your Prezi free “Public” account and then log in to the website and begin creating.

Creating a Prezi presentation is very straight-forward. A Prezi can be created from a blank canvas or from a uniquely designed template. The first step is to click “New Prezi” to start developing the presentation. The “Template Chooser” screen will open and provide two different options. The creator can start with a blank canvas or select from a uniquely designed template. Once the creator decides on a template, the next step is to click “Use Template” to launch the template. Add a “Presentation Title” and select the option of who you want to view the presentation. When adding text to the document, click anywhere on the canvas and start typing. Use the “Text Toolbar” to access the customization options such as: style, backgrounds, or colors. Next, select a frame from the drop-down menu and drag it onto the canvas in the location where you want to add information. Then, add content into the frame by clicking “Insert” from the menu at the top of the page. From this “Insert” menu, the creator can add: Images, Symbols & Shapes, YouTube videos, and PDF files. Inserted images can come from downloads or online images. Once an image is added, it can be moved anywhere on the canvas. Additionally, the “Transformation” tool appears when an object is selected and the “Transformation” tool allows an object to be resized, rotated, or moved. Another option includes clicking “Customize” to change the color of the background or choose a new theme. Finally, the path on the left side of the edit screen displays the order in which the content will appear. This can be adjusted by dragging and dropping the thumbnails up or down to reorder them. The last step is to click the “Present” button and view the final presentation. Have fun creating with Prezi.

Brett  Nordquist

by Brett Nordquist

Brett Nordquist is Faculty of Innovation at Northwest Nazarene University in the Doceō Center. He has a combined twenty years of educational experience in the Boise area. He started in the Weiser School District and then moved to the Westada School District where he served for the last eighteen years. Brett specializes in helping teachers integrate innovative and technological ideas that prove to increase student learning and engagement. Brett has taught all levels of high school, middle school, and elementary second through fifth grade levels. He has been an intern principal, summer school principal, elementary school principal in a Title 1 elementary school, curriculum and instructional specialist, and gifted and talented facilitator. Brett received a bachelor of arts in teaching from Boise State University, a master of education in educational administration from the University of Idaho, an associate’s degree in marketing from American River College, and a State of Idaho endorsement in gifted & talented education. Brett lives in Meridian, Idaho with his wife and their two children. His family enjoys skiing, snowboarding, and backpacking.