Photo of Katie Fraser

Katie Fraser's blog and website

I'm an academic librarian, working in the UK Higher Educational sector, supporting academics and students. Prior to this, I was a researcher, working with social and learning technologies.

My interests include the application of emerging and traditional technologies, research support in libraries, learning spaces, evidence-based practice and the professional development of library and information workers.

You can find out more about more about me from the links to the left. Note that the views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other individual or organisation.

Using Prezi to teach

September 1st, 2010

Screenshot of part of the Prezi

Screenshot of part of the Prezi

My last post ended in somewhat of a challenge to myself: to use my love of playing with new technologies to experiment a little with the format of my teaching. I’ve therefore been trying out Prezi, the “zooming presentation tool”, as a way of presenting a teaching session I’ve been working on.

It’s still very much a work in progress, which is why I’ve gone with a screenshot rather than a link to the Prezi itself! However, I’m quite happy with how it’s going.

Because Prezi is a big canvas you can move around, zooming in and out, it acts as a mindmap of the stuff I want to cover in my session, and has encouraged me to think about how different aspects of the teaching link together, and how to make a narrative out of them. This has helped me develop the session, and hopefully should make it more coherent.

Another benefit is that I can use this mindmap as an archive of the presentation and the resources I cover, allowing students to retrace my actions, and acting as a tangible reminder of how I interpreted the resources. As well, of course, as mundanely linking to the resources I covered!

However, now I’ve arranged the Prezi as I want I’m starting to think that I could take the information back into a Powerpoint presentation, using other cues to indicate when a concept is a key idea, and when its more of an aside – which I’m currently using zoom to indicate. The zooming mechanism has acted as a useful tool for making me distinguish between key points, the meat of the presentation, and hints and tips, but it isn’t the only way I could present these different types of information now I have identified them.

I suspect the proof of the pudding will be in the eating, and I won’t really decide what I think of Prezi until after I’ve used it in a session! Furthermore, the educational technologist in me knows that even if it is a success, it may just be the novelty of the tool catching students’ attention and not its inherent usefulness as a way of displaying information and ideas. However, the new teacher in me isn’t above using a little bit of novelty in an attempt to help students learn! That said, I will post the Prezi here after I’ve used it in my teaching, and see what conclusions I can draw on its effectiveness.