Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Focus #6 - The New Prezi

Power Point has always been one of those staple technology applications in education.  A way to present material to students that also offered the opportunity for audio, video, and picture integration to make lecture more...interesting.  However, in 2010, Power Point has started to become mundane. Prezi is a new presentation tool that offers a new approach to presenting information.  It can be easily described as creating a presentation on a 3D canvas.  

I created an original post on Prezi at the early stages of this blog.  Of course at the time of the original Blog Post I had not come to fully understand the expansiveness as well as the limitations of Prezi.  There were originally no plans for Educational Licensing and its ease of use for the average person was rather frustrating.  Within my blog I have linked to two presentations.  One I create about Hands On Learning.  The other was a Math Presentation created by a teacher at my school.

Recently though, Prezi has changed their thinking.  First they offered Educational Licensing.  You can still get the standard Free account, but there is an "Edu Enjoy" account that allows privacy settings, removal of the Prezi Watermark, and 500 MB of online storage space.  A great addition to an already interesting presentation tool.  You can pay $59 for a year subscription and it gives 2000 MB of online storage space, plus the ability to create Prezi offline using desktop software.  Not a bad price. 

If you already have an account using your school email address, log in and then click on "upgrade."  Click on the Education option and you will be able to upgrade to the Education Account.  You will have to confirm your email address again.

Prezi didn't just add Education licensing either.  It improved the tool used to create Prezi's, as well as new backgrounds, colors, fonts, etc.  The first picture is the old tool for Prezi.  The second picture is the new tool for creating Prezi...a more simple user interface.

When you visit Prezi now, it shows a video so that you can get a better idea of how to get started creating your own presentation.  Adding text is a lot easier as well as adding effects to the text.  Before you always had to go to the tool to change text, now, one click does one thing, and two clicks does another...MUCH easier.

You can easily interchange between the different fonts and colors.  I wish there were more options here instead of changing colors over the entire canvas, there was more individual options.  Creating your path is a lot easier as well with a drag and click feature.  There are also Zoom In and Out buttons so you don't always have to use your scroll.  It still has the same framing and drawing tools as well.  You can also load images, videos, and PDF within the Presentation.

But with all of that...the best feature...UNDO and REDO!!!!  

If you have not tried Prezi, I highly recommend using it once and see your student's reaction to it.  It will be such a wonderful change of pace from Power Point.  
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Another one of the Web 2.0 tools that has grown in popularity is Online Flashcards.  There are several sites out there for creating Online Flash Cards.  Some of the sites have more features than others and others are simply for creating Online Flash Cards.  My favorite of the bunch is Quizlet.

Quizlet was created by a 15 year old boy in 2005 who wanted a more entertaining way to learn his vocabulary.  The name Quizlet comes from Quizlette, the name of the "little" quizzes his French teacher gave his class.  Quizlet works by creating list of words and definitions.  The neat thing is that if you don't have a definition, you can choose from a list of definitions submitted by other users.  From those list there are different ways to learn them.  Students can export them into Flashcards, or complete various games and activities.  Students can even take a test that includes matching, multiple choice, true or false, and fill in the blank.  Teachers can create an account for free and then students can log on and use the terms you created to study.  Students can log on and create the words themselves to study as well.  Students do not have to join the site to study the flash cards already uploaded to the site.

Up Next - Friday Focus - The New Prezi