I have just spent all day putting together a presentation using Prezi. That’s not all the time it took – because I’ve already spent another day or two planning the presentation, making notes, gathering images and sketching out a plan. Altogether, the presentation has taken about 20 hours of my spare time – and I expect I’ll go on to tinker with it some more.
Was it worth it? My feeling is – yes – because this is a new way of constructing presentations, more akin to design or to concept mapping. It moves me away from the linear form of presentation and towards thinking of the presentation as a unified whole. I’ve now got a carefully structured and well thought-through piece – which could double as a poster without needing much work done.
Yes, it took me far longer than a PowerPoint – but perhaps not much longer than my first-ever PowerPoint. And, as the university supports PowerPoint, I went on a full-day training course and was supplied with an OU template to use. I’ve now got four years’ supply of old presentations to build on – so I rarely start from scratch as I have done today.
I’m pleased I can link other people to my Prezi and embed it in other sites (not this one, unfortunately, but that’s down to the set-up of this blog, not to Prezi).
I think I’m still on a learning curve. I’ve probably overused the facility to keep swooping back to my central ideas – so my audience will probably be sick to the teeth of my research questions by the time I’ve finished. And it was really hard to estimate how much time this would take to present, so I may end up skipping through towards the end. I’ll need to trial it somewhere, as well – I’m worried that it will fail to work on a strange computer in a new venue.
Prezi is probably also still on a learning curve. I’ve kept almost all of my text and pictures horizontal and upright – but there is still an uneasy feeling to the movement of the focus across the screen. I would have liked more layout tools to help me align items, and a facility to lock groups of items together so I didn’t have to move them individually. The option of saving as an A0 or A1 document would also be useful – I’d have to do the whole thing again in a different program if I wanted a poster at the end of it. A bit more flexibility about colours and fonts would have come in handy, and there were times when I lost control of how I was moving about the screen, and had to log out and start again. And it doesn’t work on a Mac on Firefox, which meant I had to dig Safari out of my applications folder.
It’s been hard work, but interesting. It’s definitely a tool that has helped me to put my ideas together. PowerPoint helps me to isolate and organise individual ideas and sub-sets of ideas – Prezi helps me to combine and integrate them. In the long run I think that Prezi’s will prove to be the better approach for me.