By Josi S. Kilpack
Last June I went to a parent orientation with my daughter who was about to start college (Go Utes!) and in one of my classes, the instructor (i.e. Upperclassman doing an internship) had a PowerPoint presentation. Or, at least, I thought it was a PowerPoint. It looked like a title page projected on the screen, with some little design-type tiles to the side. He started the class and clicked his pointer, but instead of the page sliding or folding or whatever, the screen zoomed into one of the little tiles I thought were just decorative. It was another PowerPoint slide with bullet lists and whatever, but he’d ZOOMED to it. He clicked his clicker again and the page zoomed out and then zoomed back in on a video interview. It was as though I were watching a TV show. He had music, videos, graphics, and lists within lists which made up the “slides” of his presentation. It was very cool. I wanted to ask him what the heck it was after the class, but he was engaged with someone else and I had to go, but I wondered if it was a special U of U thing, or was it a new version of PowerPoint. I didn’t know, but it was cool.
A few months later, Rob Wells was telling me about this Prezi he was. I thought he was being cute—like when you call a helicopter a chopper—but as he kept talking I realized that I was missing something. He eventually showed me his presentation and I was like, “THAT’S WHAT THE KID HAD AT THE U.” It was awesome.
Rob told me it was easy to learn, but I was in no place to learn something new and so though I was excited to know about it, I wasn’t ready to dive in. My PowerPoint presentations were fine.
Then I attended a conference where Marion Jensen had a Prezi. It was so crisp and almost felt interactive, even though it was a presentation just like any PowerPoint presentation was. I decided I would learn how to do it one day, then a few weeks later realized I had to build a presentation for a conference I had last week. I was in between my deadline and my revisions so I went to Prezi.com and within a couple of hours, I had my first Prezi done, complete with lots of images I could use off the computer without having to download them. The next day I adapted an existing power point into a Prezi. I got compliments at the conference for both of them.
So, basic stuff to know about a Prezi. It’s a free online thing—you build your Prezi through their site and then you download it if you want it on your computer, though you can access it online as well. You can pay to keep your Prezis private, or you can have a free account which remains public. It kind of bugs me that anyone can see my Prezis, but apparently it doesn’t bug me enough to pay $60 a year for a private account. It makes me feel better to know that I’m the only person who can edit my Prezis (unless I give someone else permission) and I was sure to put my name all over both of them so that if anyone does use them, I will still get credit. The biggest risk, I guess, is that someone can steal my ‘content’ so I remain mindful of that
The only drawback I found is that when I give a PowerPoint presentation I usually do it from ‘presenter view’ which means I can see a slide ahead and read any notes that I’ve made—none of that shows up for those attending my presentation, but it gives me a little more detail. I don’t think Prezi has that, which meant that as I gave my presentation there were times when I wasn’t sure what frame came next. I need to poke around the site and see if there is a solution to this somehow, like being able to print out the pages in advance. But even without that, I enjoyed the format very much.
Both Prezis I’ve created are very, very basic, but I like how they turned out and I feel all cool and stuff to have learned to do something cutting edgeyish.
You can create an account and get started at www.Prezi.com.