Thursday, March 8, 2012

Presentations with Pop!

Prezi Online Presentation Software

Tired of putting students to sleep with PowerPoint presentations? Does flying in text and crazy transitions annoy you? Need to wow the audience at your next conference? Then, Prezi is your answer.

Click Here to watch a Prezi presentation of the first paragraph of this article.

Prezi is an internet-based presentation software that is FREE! Let me repeat that. FREE. When you sign up for an account, you get 500mb of online storage to create your presentation. What makes Prezi different from PowerPoint or Keynote is its Zooming User Interface which allows you to zoom in and out of content within your presentation. The benefits of this type of presentation allows for information to be displayed in a non-linear format, relationships between concepts can be explained through perspective (zooming) and location, and presentations to be visually appealing holding your audience’s attention. Text, images, and videos are all placed on the canvas. You can organize related content in frames. Then, you apply your creativity by positioning and resizing your content. The final step is to define the navigation of the presentation by designating your starting point and the path through the content.  You select the content you want to focus your audience on, and the Prezi software handles the transitions between the steps on your path. The end product is a presentation that feels more like a journey. You provide the same content as you would in PowerPoint, but now you guide your audience to experience the content instead of offering the next slide of bullet points.

Prezi has been around since 2009. It has been used in a number of TED Conferences presentations and more than likely at one of the recent conferences you have attended. If you haven’t seen a Prezi presentation, then surf over to and view a few of the examples. You’ll get the concept pretty quickly.

Creating a Prezi is pretty simple. You just start adding you text and images to the canvas and move them around and resize them. There is even a short tutorial on how to import your existing PowerPoint into Prezi to add a little flare to the transitions between your slides. I recommend that you do a little planning up front on how you want the presentation to flow. I suggest viewing the following Prezi to get an idea of how to arrange your information on the canvas: Academy: 10 ways to say it with prezi

The free service of Prezi will probably suit most users’ needs. There is a free Edu Enjoy license which is a bump up from the free public version. All you need is an .edu email address. All editing and storage is online. You can download you presentation if you need it and then delete it online to free up online storage space. However, you cannot upload that file to edit. Here is a link to more info.
There are paid services that allows for editing offline (installing Prezi Desktop software) as well as additional online storage. The “Edu Pro” version ($59 per year) is 2000 MB online storage, tech support, private presentations, as well as the Prezi Desktop software where you can do all your editing offline and allows installs on three computers. Not too bad if you really like this software and do a lot of presentations.

If you are asking yourself if you should start making all your presentations in Prezi, consider this.
Count on probably spending twice the amount of time to create your presentation. PowerPoint has nice templates to plug in your titles, details, and media and then easily change your template and slide order. In Prezi, you have to place and resize all the content and then determine the path of the presentation. So, it takes more time for development and changes.

Prezi also has challenges with audio. It can be done, but you will need to do extra work to add audio directly to Prezi (there are tutorials on that). I recommend if you want to add your narration to your Prezi, capture your whole presentation with Camtasia Relay so you get both your narration and the awesome Prezi effect

Another drawback is viewing the presentation for review. Many of us post our PowerPoint presentations so students can go back and review the material in the presentation. The information is organized to easily review and structured in an orderly manner the makes sense when reviewing for an exam. It is not as easy reviewing a Prezi to get to content you are looking for. Let me use the metaphor of locating the famous quote in Hamlet. You know it is in Act 3, Scene 1. The two resources to find the quote are a written copy of the play and a copy of the movie. PowerPoint is the written copy where you can flip pretty fast to that scene and find the quote. Prezi is more like a movie where you have to fast-forward to get to the scene.

To Prezi, or not to Prezi, that is the question.

To Prezi:
If you have time and resources to really develop your presentation and you want to capture your audience. You want the “wow” factor. If you have information that you want your audience to take with them, create a separate handout with that content. Also consider recording the live presentation (either video or Relay) for those who could not attend. You put a lot time in this presentation, record it. I highly recommend developing a Prezi for a conference presentation or anytime you are trying to present to a panel for a grant.

Not to Prezi:
When time and resources are limited, PowerPoint serves it purpose. If your presentation is heavy with content that your audience will need handouts or notes for review, PowerPoint is the way to go.
Eventually, the “wow” factory will wear off and everyone will use this software (or Microsoft will buy it and make it part of PowerPoint). I say get the most of it now and use it to win over your audience.

Contributor: Sonny Painter, TLT Educational Technology Liaison

If you’re interested in exploring Prezi for your KUMC courses, please contact the TLT Educational Technology Liaison for your school or contact TLT ( or 913-588-7107).

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sonny-nice summary of Prezi! I used it for the first time in December for a KU Step 1 overview. I thought it had a nice 'wow' factor too but at least one of my colleagues found the zooming distracting. I like the new newsletter!