How to use Prezi without getting dizzy, and can it be a transformative tool?

Recently, I've read and fielded a few comments from bloggers and teachers about some issues with Prezi.  In particular, several have noted the steep learning curve and the unintended focus on zooms/twists/turns as opposed to the content.  With regards to the latter, I learned firsthand how dizzying the Prezi experience can be when I gave previews of my ICE poster session to colleagues prior to the conference.  Feedback often included "That's really cool, but I'm starting to feel nauseated."  For the learning curve, I'd like to argue that when used carefully, Prezi can be easy to get started with and the program has the potential to be used as a transformative tool in education.

As the program says when you start a new Prezi, a user simply needs to "Double click anywhere & add an idea". From here, I would suggest that students imagine the Prezi canvas as a blank slate for brainstorming.  Double click away and type in ideas, categories, keywords, phrases, anything that comes to mind about the topic that you want to present or use it as a graphic organizer for a paper.  Click and edit or add more text to an existing idea.  Click and drag to place ideas into proximity groups, or start to plan your presentation layout.  Click and delete items that don't make the final cut.  Finally, click on path to connect your ideas for the framework of your presentation.  All of this can be done in minutes, and notice that we haven't touched upon the zooms, multimedia, or other potentially confusing parts of Prezi (frames, editing the path).  Instead, the focus is just on getting content out of the student's head and up on the screen.  From my experiences, I feel that a non-linear program such as Prezi can often help me organize a presentation better than Powerpoint can, and I suspect that it can do the same for many other students.

Since I've noticed some interest in this post, I thought I'd make a quick video to show what I'm writing about in the above paragraph.  Please note that this just scratches the surface for using Prezi, and there are far better tutorials available.  I just wanted to illustrate how easy and simple it can be to use the program and still benefit greatly from the process.  As mentioned above, brainstorming, visualizing ideas, and grouping are all easiliy facilitated using Prezi.


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