I feel that I’ve really got to grips with Prezi now from my early blogging days of using it as something new and amazing. I’m starting to really use it to improve my teaching and my planning of teaching.
What I do these days is I take a unit from the BTEC and I create a theme opening slide for the whole unit and then I set up boxes within the main theme opener which are individual sessions throughout the unit in a logical structure. Each box contains however many sessions are essential to cover the topic fully, my lesson plans, my resources if they are electronic and even if they are not spaces for tasks and white board notes and to use the interactive white board. I try to at least upload into the Prezi a front cover or an image of paper resources. I have objectives for the unit and then objectives for each session within the unit and also extension activities.
What this means is that if we need to recap or if we need to look at something which comes a little later in the unit it is all there, it’s easy to go back to previous sessions or to bring something forward from a later session. There is no hassle of looking back through files or Powerpoints or not having the right information with you, it’s all there on one little file and what’s more it’s there on the internet to access wherever you are. OK so I keep a copy on memory stick just in case of tech issues and I also keep a resource folder for each unit which I take to lessons with me so if the tech fails I can still conduct the planned session.
This doesn’t meant that my lessons contain only hi-tech tasks, not by any means, I’m the teacher who made a colour by numbers task for recruitment and selection, I’ve always got a flip chart and markers under my arm, I’m all for a mix of the two but it does help to contain the information for each unit and have it instantly accessible.
The only problem I find with Prezi (which I must note is free and is still in development so I have to give it a chance) is that it’s not too easy to email a presentation to other people who are not subscribed to Prezi. How there are any teachers out there who aren’t is beyond me though. If they are subscribed they can access all of your Prezi’s with access rights or they can be invited to view specific ones. However if you were attending a conference and they wanted to pre-load as often is the case, it’s very difficult to do. It’s not a case of sending a link or sending a file in an email like it is with Powerpoint and that’s the big downfall, but I’m sure they will get to grips with that sooner or later.
You can send your presentation as a PDF or print it as such if you wish so that’s easy to share in that way and of course it can go onto a disc or stick and it is possible to send by email it just has to be to someone who is signed up that’s all.
For a unit I’m currently co-teaching Creative Product Promotions I’ve prepared lessons for all elements within the unit even though I’m only responsible for one of the units independently. I’ve done this for most units knowing that I will teach the whole thing independently eventually. What I did with this one is set up a Prezi initial window which resembles a magazine cover with all of the sessions within the unit separated into articles with illustrations. It looks impressive, perhaps more like a newspaper but whatever it’s a really good example of how Prezi can be used to capture all lessons for a unit and how it can capture the essence of what the unit is about overall. The fact that you can pan and zoom and minimise objects within the presentation allows you to hide things and prevent them distracting learners or giving away something that’s coming up while focusing on what you wish them to focus on at the time. Of course it also allows you to tap on an interactive white board and bring a picture or some text up nice and big so students can clearly see it if you wish them too. I love the way it allows you the teacher to control the focus of the lesson when you are teaching from the board. I’m not a big fan of overusing the board but I am a big fan of if you’re going to use it, use it to it’s full potential.
I had thought of choosing Prezi as my ‘thing’ for conference but I’m glad I chose my other favourite Socrative, I’m enjoying testing it out and getting feedback from the students on its use.