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Nine strategies for teaching with Prezi

November 11, 2011

Many faculty members are experimenting with Prezi as a presentation tool. Others have added it to their regular list of technology tools and some use it exclusively. Unfortunately, as with any tool, there are ways to use it badly. One of Prezi’s pitfalls is getting carried away with zooming around the canvas and rotating the screen. This article provides recommendations for using Prezi well in a college classroom.

  1. Think of it as a canvas. A Prezi is not a set of slides. Consider a “big picture” arrangement, where a view of the full canvas conveys meaning. Some have used Prezi to create concept maps.
  2. Beware the nausea factor! Pan and zoom slowly. If necessary, insert an intermediate point on the path. Only use rotation for a good reason, like contrasting different perspectives.
  3. Engage your students. Have them work collaboratively using Prezi Meeting. Add a poll using Poll Everywhere. Change things up in class at least once every 10-15 minutes.
  4. Be creative. Consider wrapping your Prezi around a story or metaphor, providing a framework that can help students internalize concepts.
  5. Keep it simple. Minimize the number of steps on the path. Deal with one concept at a time. Take some of the bars off of that chart. Eliminate unnecessary information.
  6. Respect design conventions. Use contrast and white space, follow the rule of thirds, be consistent, and don’t forget proximity. Convey meaning by clustering content that’s connected conceptually (props to DB for the alliteration).
  7. Choose images over text. Images are more efficient in representing ideas, and when you zoom out they are still visible. Your voice should be the “text” during a presentation.
  8. Plan ahead. Following these recommendations will take time. Unlike some other tools, Prezi is hard to use well “on the fly.”
  9. Cut your losses. If Prezi is not meeting your needs for a particular presentation, there are other tools. Use something else and go back to Prezi next time it’s appropriate.
Sources and inspiration
38 Comments leave one →
  1. Judy permalink
    November 11, 2011 9:28 pm

    Some very helpful rules of thumb. I’ll offer a tenth for an even number. Use the movement to demonstrate the relationships between ideas. For example, for more in-depth information, zoom in. For more general ideas, move outward. For closely related information move a small distance laterally.

  2. November 14, 2011 5:44 am

    Hi Chris,
    this is Zoli Radnai, Community Manager at Prezi. This is a great post about Prezi in education. We are about to unveil a new community site, Prezi U, which will be a hub for all things Education and Prezi.  Prezi U will include articles, an educational prezi Library, and community forums– covering diverse subjects for both K-12 and University readers, as well as topics in educational technology and pedagogy for modern learning styles.

    We would be happy to re-post your “Nine strategies for teaching with Prezi” series for our community. Let me know what you think!

    Best
    Zoli
    zoltan.radnai_at_prezi_dot_com.

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