Blog Post

A Prezi-entable Presentation

 

Greetings Fellow HASTAC-ers!

I’ve enjoyed reading the various posts and hopefully I’ll get a chance to explore these topics this upcoming weekend at the Vandy THATCamp (shameless plug, mea culpa).  As a new HASTAC member and first time Teaching Assistant, I’ve decided to make my first official post about my experience using Prezi to present my first lecture.

I had heard a great deal about Prezi from posts on gradhacker and profhacker.  So this October when given the chance to put together my first ever lecture, I decided to be a typical graduate student and make my life extra-stressful by testing out this new software.  The lecture is for a 100 level survey course on the United States and the Cold War.  My lecture was on the Cold War coming to the Middle East after the Second World War until the Six Days War in 1967.  After a number of frustrating drafts, I finally got the hang of using Prezi and was able to develop the lecture I envisioned.

While I won’t recount every detail of the presentation, I’ll list some of the highs and lows of using Prezi. 

Highlights:

  • Dynamic presentation slides that allowed me to integrate youtube videos into the body of the presentation.
  • Ability to control the map of the presentation.
  • Offers a clean and professional aesthetic for the presentation.

Areas for improvement:

  • I had wanted to use a map to trace the central events of the lecture, but Prezi struggles with imported pictures and I was unable to hide slides in the wide screen.  I was hoping to be able to create such a dynamic presentation that the slides would each be located at various places and the presentation would zoom in and out.  If others have been successful with such a model, I would love to know how. 
  • It was easy to scroll out of or between slides, which at times interrupted the lecture (mostly my fault but still good to know for other first time users)
  • The youtube videos did not have the time bars, so I had to estimate where to start the videos if the clip was supposed to be a shortened version.

Overall, I really enjoyed the experience but I feel there is still a great deal of improvement, both in terms of Prezi's features and my own understanding of how it works.  For those of you that have more than a single lecture under their belt, what presentation technologies do you use for your lectures? Has anyone else used Prezi and resolved these issues?  

If you want to look at my lecture, please feel free to follow this link: http://prezi.com/vwcb9yaih3jp/the-cold-war-comes-to-the-middle-east/?utm_source=share&utm_campaign=shareprezi&utm_medium=email

Please feel free to comment with your own experience with Prezi and/or other presentation software.  Also if anyone has thoughts about what makes a good lecture, I would appreciate the advice since I have two lectures next semester.

Cheers,

Zoe

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