Prezis for the classroom?

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Prezis for the classroom?

I recently field tested a resource with my physics students.  To earn some extra end-of-the-semester bonus points, they had to either critique a "Prezi" or create a "Prezi" relevant to topics we've studied so far.  Your first question is most likely "Ok, so what's a Prezi"? 

 

If you've not seen a Prezi yet, you're in for a treat.  It's a new kind of presentation that, in my opinion, can be used to better model the way we think.  PowerPoint presentations and transparency slides are generally very linear.  However, we generally don't think that way; our thoughts typically branch off of previous thoughts and continually reflect back, all while keeping at hand the big picture. 

"Prezis open the door for simultaneously presenting material in a logical/intuitive fashion and collectively as a whole."

It's easy to insert narrative, images, video and of course, a little bit of humor!  And what's more, rigor or depth of content doesn't have to be sacrificed to make this work.  In fact, the way in which a Prezi is designed can intuitively emphasize points with different weights.  To see what I mean, check out this Prezi:

 http://prezi.com/boa21ytdaoxy/ap-bio-evolution-6-brief-history-of-life/

If you didn't experiment with the Prezi, go back and try clicking on the presentation itself.  You can click, hold and pan the presentation much like a Google Map.  Zooming in and out is also a snap with the side bar toward the right of the Prezi.  Did you see how the Prezi managed to present technical information while keeping at bay the main message?

"So What?" 

...I can hear my favorite education professor, Dr. Fox, from St. Lawrence University ask.  I see Prezis as having great potential for learning.  First, it's online, so no software purchase is required.  Second, it's a tool both teachers and students can use.  A great use would be to have your students create their own Prezi as a means for review of material.  Then the teacher and other students can view the Prezi and provide feedback.  This ties right in with Standards-Based Grading and adds a level of quality that memorizing word banks just can't acheive.

  • So your assignment: go to http://prezi.com and click on the "Explore" tab.  Search for a topic in physics or physical science and see what pops up! 
    • Would you use it in class?  Why or why not? 

    • Can you tell the author understood the material?  How so? 

    • What should be changed to make it more accurate?

Now, what if you had your own students do the same thing?

       

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