In “High Tech Classrooms,” an article for Information Today, writer Kurt Schiller details the rise of technology in both K-12 and higher education. He specifically discusses the use of Prezi, a tool launched in 2009 that allows users to create presentations on “a single, large canvas and build conceptual maps that show how ideas relate to one another” (Schiller, 2011, p. 34). Unlike traditional PowerPoint slideshows, that walk viewers through the presentation slide-by-slide, Prezis have a main “hub” and many different branches of information. Within those branches, creators can add additional content, such as video or web links, and can always return back to the “big picture” (34).
The article included an interview with Prezi Marketing Director Drew Banks, who believes that Prezis are more like movies than presentations, and that part of what has made Prezi successful is that the tool takes information and transforms it into an enjoyable, well-organized viewing experience (34). The author also noted that Prezis have “found favor” (34) in K-12 education, and in institutions of higher learning such as Stanford University.
In addition to looking at the Prezi tool, the article also focused on the use of social media tools within the classroom, such as Edmodo, an education-specific tool, and “all-purpose” social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. While it is clear that these tools are on the rise in education, the author noted that teachers who use such tools need to make sure that all students can access them, and that they don’t make the assumption that all students know how to use them.
Because I am planning on using a Prezi for my lesson plan, I was glad that this article focused specifically on that tool. I like Prezis because they are more visually appealing and interactive than regular PowerPoint slideshows, and that they can be used independently by users, without necessarily being tied to a presentation given by a facilitator or teacher.
Schiller, K. (2011). High-tech classrooms. Information Today. 28 (8): 34-35.