I promised a blog post on prezi a while ago, so here it is, finally!
This blog isn’t intended as tutorial on how to make a prezi, they do a good job of that themsleves on the website. I discovered prezi in August and was an immediate convert. I use it for the moment to digitise my Junior Certificate History notes and to provide another communication method, along with the textbook (which admittedly I use less and less) , my notes on the whiteboard or photocopied, twitter (see here) and video clips.
Prezi allows me to highlight important points in a way that the dreaded powerpoint never did. I always found PP too clunky, and have been at far too many CPDs where the person at the top of the room just read from slide after slide after slide after zzzz… In contrast prezi let me project the topic on the whiteboard and talk around the text. That way everybody got the information, bu those who wanted a little more could listen and pick up an extra layer of the story, maybe some trivia, but always engaging the deeper learner. It also allows me to check on the writing going onto the page, especially for students who need help with accuracy.
Here’s one of the first ones I did. it’s about Ireland in 1900 and looking back on it now, it’s a bit busy but it got across the important introductory stuff about Nationalists and Unionists. At the same time I was trying to incorporate maps for my 2nd Year class and did this one on the Voyages of Exploration, it’s not finished but it was an early try at including maps and photos that would have broken up the class by going from whiteboard to textbook and back in previous years.
I’m much happpier with the next two on Home Rule In Ireland and Irish Nationalism, I was learning how to use the frame to zoom a little better and was experimenting with some text heavy slides and some visuals. I did another on the Reformation in which I wanted to show the students the faces of the people we were talking about as well as contrast the Catholic Church and Protestant Churches. Another on Post-WWI Europe was an attempt to again tie in pictures of the main players at Versailles but also include some contemporary cartoons on the settlement.
By the time I got to Hitler’s Germany, prezi had introduced multiple colours and fonts, and though I think this one is a bit too colourful, it allowed me to differentiate in class, telling students to only take notes on certain colours so that they either wouldn’t get bogged down in text or they would only have the information they needed. (There’s another on the Plantations of Ireland, but that’s a work in progress if you want you can watch as I draw up that one before Christmas.)
So that’s prezi and me, having had a projector installed and become fairly literate on the laptop it would have been a waste not to use them for something I hadn’t tried before. Now the girls come into the room asking one of two things: are we using our phones in class (twitter) or are we looking at slides?