Using Prezi in education is taking the classroom by storm, rapidly gaining popularity over other programs as the presentation tool of choice for educators and students.
For those who may not yet be familiar with the application, Prezi was developed in 2009, primarily with the iPad in mind but it’s just as usable on standard laptops and PCs. It’s an online Flash-based program which uses visual learning techniques to create “maps” of your chosen subject matter and it’s packed with some great interactive features. It’s these features which explain why using Prezi in education is becoming so popular, so let’s take a closer look at them.
Prezi differs quite fundamentally from other programs which guide the viewer through a linear series of slides based on text and outlines. Instead, Prezi organizes concepts in a more graphic way, much like a mind map.
To illustrate how it works, let’s take one of Prezi’s popular templates, the tree, as an example. You can use the tree to demonstrate to your pupils how an idea develops from the roots and how watering those roots causes each branch to grow and bear fruit; in effect Prezi creates a visual metaphor of an entire concept and shows how each of its elements connects with the others.
Sounds like a lot of information to fit on one slide? It certainly would be, but here’s the best bit about using Prezi in education. Your tree, or whatever template you choose, isn’t just a fancy background for the information you want to present; it’s no longer a slide but an entire canvas on which you can insert text, images, even educational videos wherever you wish.
But the key feature is that Prezi lets your students zoom in on each piece of information to explore it in minute detail, and out again when they want to see the big picture, and this is the real beauty of using Prezi in education.
It’s a fun learning tool which has a visual impact that kids will instantly engage with. It literally invites them on a journey, encouraging them to explore new ideas in the “world” that you design. You can import pictures maps or PDFs to use as your canvas, so there’s almost no limit to the presentations you can create. Prezi is also compatible with your interactive whiteboard and allows groups of up to ten students to collaborate in real time, so it’s perfect for group projects and for encouraging discussion. In addition, being an online tool, you can make your Prezi public to allow students to access it at home via the internet, so that they can revisit it as often as they need when working on related assignments. Homework has never been so much fun!
If you’re worried about all the notes you already have saved in PowerPoint, don’t be. Prezi has a handy PowerPoint Import feature which means you won’t have to start again from scratch, so it’s incredibly easy to migrate.
If you want to start exploring the benefits of using Prezi in education by trying it out for yourself, all you have to do is sign up at Prezi.com. Sign-up is free but you can get a free educational subscription when you sign up with an education email address which matches your school’s domain, giving you additional storage space plus the ability to use your own logo and choose who you share your presentations with.
Prezi takes your students on a guided tour of your subject matter, letting them hold a magnifying glass to the key elements in order to understand them more fully and zoom out to see how the whole concept fits together from beginning to end. Thanks to its super-interactivity, Prezi is a tool that they’ll love using and which will ensure that when you choose the right visual imagery, the message you want to convey will be a memorable one.
Article written by Cheryl Luzet for BBC Active Video for Learning who offer the rights to BBC educational videos for use in education and training.