Meaningful Meanderings

Chris Mark's Blogfolio

Prezi – a New Look for Presentations!!! November 26, 2010

Filed under: Teaching with Technology,Web 2.0 — Christine Mark @ 3:43 pm
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I found this Web 2.0 tool to be the best find yet. PowerPoint has dominated the presentation area for many, many years. How refreshing to see something innovative and different. Prezi allows users to create presentations on a single canvas and then move and zoom in and out to see the text, photos or video.
To be able to use Prezi you have to establish an account. This is a very simple process. There is also an educational option which allows teachers and educators free access with more storage and features than the standard free software. For $159 per year Prezi can be upgraded to include additional storage space (from 500 MB to 2000 MB) and Prezi can be accessed from the user’s computer desktop. I found the educational option to have all the features I would need.
Before starting your first Prezi I would recommend going to the Explore tab on Prezi and looking at several of the presentations available. There are literally hundreds there to look at and get ideas. I found this to be most helpful. I then sketched out my main points and how I wanted it to look and then began putting my content into Prezi. I was surprised how easy it was. There were not a lot of choices for color and font. Consider how the colors will look on a projector if you plan on presenting the Prezi in front of an audience. I think the darker colors would be OK if the audience is only viewing it on their own computer screen, but I liked the white background considering I planned to project my Prezi to my class. I choose to take one of my lectures I use for my Human Resource Management class, Unions and Labor Relations, and converted it to a Prezi. I had so much fun putting it together and found it to be quite easy. I also loved that I could be creative and find places to hide text and then zoom in on it to the surprise of my audience. Another great thing about Prezi was the ability to insert YouTube videos and have them automatically play when clicked in the presentation. It all looks so seamless. Another thing I discovered in giving the Prezi presentation to my class is that you can use a slide clicker so you don’t have to be standing next to the computer during the presentation. I advanced through my presentation as I walked around my class. It was actually fun and I think the students found it entertaining as I think we are all a bit tired of canned PowerPoint presentations. Click below to look at my presentation:

human-resource-management-and-organized-labor

I think Prezi has so many uses in teaching and learning. Prezi can make presentations more interesting as opposed to PowerPoint. Students can also put Prezi’s together for various projects. The chance to be creative is a great advantage for students.

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Slideshare – a Great Web 2.0 Tool February 23, 2010

Filed under: Slideshare — Christine Mark @ 9:31 pm
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I noticed that when I searched for PowerPoint presentations that I could use for my classes that many of them were in a format called Slideshare.  I was not sure how Slideshare worked I just knew there were many great presentations stored using this tool.  As part of my PhD class in Instructional Technology, we learned about Slideshare and explored its many uses.  I completed an assignment where we had to use an advanced feature of Slideshare called Slidecast.  This tool allows users to apply audio to PowerPoint slides and create a narrated automatic presentation.  The assignment required that 10 slides be narrated.  I used a past presentation that was done for parents explaining Web 2.0 tools and how their children could use them safely which consisted of 16 slides.  I first used Audacity to create an MP3 file containing my voice narration.  I had never used Audacity and I found it to be quite user friendly.  I was able to go through my audio track and delete all the awkward pauses and instances of filler syllables like “um”, etc.  It was quite easy.  I then went to the Slideshare website and created an account.  This was very straightforward.  I then uploaded my PowerPoint slides and my MP3 file.  Using the Slidecast feature I was able to sync my audio to the appropriate slide.  It worked for me the first time and I did not have any problems.  Here is my Slideshare Slidecast if you would like to see and listen to the finished product.

As I completed this assignment I thought of many uses for this tool.  It would be great to use to record a lecture for students who are either online or miss a class.  Students could also use this to review for an exam or go back over something they did not understand.  It can also be used to record presentations done at conferences or presentations you would like to share with colleagues.  The only drawback I could see is that it does not support video if the Slidecast feature is used.  It also does not recognize any animations or transitions in the presentation.  However, I thought that overall it a great tool for education and it easy to learn.  I am going to definitely use this web 2.0 tool for my classes going forward.