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Prezi, Kimya Dawson, and a Long Goodbye to Powerpoint

ScreenHunter_02 Jun. 23 12.50
A friend tipped me to Prezi, a new presentation tool that has severed the last feeble connection I had to Powerpoint. I have been experimenting a bit in recent years with alternative presentation tools like Google Maps for narratives. I have also been greatly influenced by the book Presentation Zen, which I recommend highly. My notion of a presentation as a dynamic as opposed to static transformation has evolved considerably in the last few years.

And then came Prezi. Still presumably in Beta, it has changed the way I conceptualize my presentations. Imagine a presentation as one huge slide, one huge canvas or whiteboard.

On this whiteboard, you put images, text, video, anything. Put it anywhere. There are no frames, no formatting issues, no annoying Powerpoint image resizing issues. Just a big white canvas.

Then, when all the elements are there that you want to present, you literally draw a line between them all to show the sequencing.

Teachers of the world, unite! Gone are the days when you would labor over a bullet point that just wouldn’t correct itself, a template that bored the beejezus out of you, or the petrifying thought of presenting a visual, highly conceptual concept with linear slides. Egad! Those days are done.

And, if you can spare the time, listen to a few of the training videos available at Prezi. You know you have a good project when you don’t even bother removing the Italian accent of the trainer; it is going to sell itself. That is like me conducting online webinars in Korean or French. Plausible, but suspect.

Here is my first attempt with creating one of these, something I literally threw together in a few minutes. I produced it in Camtasia as I happened to have that program open as well. We can thank Kimya Dawson, formerly of the Moldy Peaches, for the audio.

So, if Google Translate is to be trusted, la rivoluzione è ora. Insegnanti unitevi! Giù con Powerpoint! Viva Prezi!

As a side note, if Death by Powerpoint were an ice cream flavor, I wouldn’t eat it.

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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