Common Sense Review
Updated October 2016

Prezi

Stylish presentation creator with a unique 3D zooming effect
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • Prezi is an interactive presentation tool with an infinite canvas.
  • Save creations to your profile page, including copies of those you find while browsing the Prezi community.
  • Well-designed interface makes for easy navigation, and handy support tutorials assist newbies.
  • Collaboration option makes Prezi a great choice for team projects.
  • Easy-to-use text editor formats presentations in a snap.
  • Unique 3D zoom animation adds style to engage your audience.
Pros
Attractive, easy-to-use, built-in templates produce professional looking presentations; free upgraded account for teachers.
Cons
No easy import for audio files, and, without solid content, the animation can seem gimmicky or distracting.
Bottom Line
An elegant, flexible alternative to other online slide software tools, but it requires some finesse to make the effective use of the features and infinite canvas.
Patricia Monticello Kievlan
Common Sense Reviewer
Foundation/Non-Profit Member
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

The tool is fairly intuitive; students should have no problem using it. It's not designed to engage students necessarily; however, the attractive end products and design-centered site may keep them goal focused.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Collaborative online editing and integration with social networking sites like Facebook make group work easy. The unique presentation style gets users to think in new ways.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Students can view design guidelines and webinars and get guidance from Prezi peers on the forum. Some websites from pre-screened consultants, who are available for a fee, include tips. Prezi Desktop is available in four languages.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

Users create profile accounts or login to Prezi through Facebook. The site walks first-time users through the process of making a presentation step-by-step, and the streamlined site is fairly easy to navigate on the first try. The layout is reminiscent of other presentation software with a main screen for editing the presentation and thumbnails of the individual slides shown to the left. Standout features include the ability to add content to slides by simply clicking anywhere and typing, and creating custom animation “paths” to maximize Prezi’s zooming feature.

Help is available in several formats. A link from within the main screen takes you to a general tutorial video, and a Help menu pull-down contains a FAQ, help videos, and links to Premium email support (for upgraded accounts). Some presentations have pretty long load times, especially for high-quality images and videos, so working locally may be a necessity for a high-tech and flexible presentation.

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What's It Like?

Prezi is an online presentation maker that features a unique 3D zoom animation to move between slides on an infinite canvas. Teachers and students can turn ordinary slide presentations into more stylish and potentially more engaging experiences than those made with other presentation software. Prezi supports uploading Power Point slides or creating new presentations from scratch or templates. Account setup is simple, support tutorials are helpful and clear, and the end results are professional looking presentations. Teachers should note that Prezi's Terms of Use only allows use for minors 13 or older, and they must have the consent of a parent or teacher before setting up an account. 

Students and teachers can upgrade to a free "Edu Enjoy" account that enables logo-free, private presentations and enhanced support and storage space. The paid Edu Pro plan includes a few more features like image editing tools and offline support, both of which might be helpful for presenting in class. Note that there's also a Prezi for iPad app (now called "Prezi Viewer") which includes a slimmed-down feature set. The app is best used as a vehicle for presenting Prezi presentations that were previously built on the web from a desktop computer.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Several features make Prezi a good choice for classroom and online presentations. Teens can collaborate simultaneously on a presentation, making the tool a good choice for group projects. The site offers social networking capabilities including one-click integration with Facebook and user profile pages with avatars.

Unfortunately, slow load times for larger images and videos make the online version a poor choice for wireless connections. Plus, this tool isn't a good fit for including standalone audio: You can include audio at individual steps on a Prezi path, and you can loop a musical track, but you can't include audio narration. Overall, this is still a well-designed tool that produces very nice looking results but doesn’t hold any intrinsic educational value; it’s the content that students create that will ultimately determine the quality of the presentation.

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