How I Use It
Most of my instruction is student-centered, so rather than me using presentation tools, like Prezi, my students are creating them. One of the projects some of my students used Prezi for was an open-ended inquiry project. The students were allowed to pick an issue in our current society they were interested in or passionate about. They had to complete research about that issue, which included collecting YouTube videos, scholarly articles, links to outside websites, etc. After the research was complete, the students had to present their research to me and their peers. This is where Prezi came in. About half of the students picked Prezi and the actual technology was used to varying degrees: some students simply used it as a platform to post YouTube videos they were going to share and others used every feature available, including a lot of text that they were able to read word for word. Let's just say that the students that put more features into the one presentation suffered--they were too hung up on how the presentation looked and not enough on the content. In the future, I would show examples of the type of Prezi I am looking for. This example would be content focused that is purposeful in its uses of Prezi's features.
Four years ago, when Prezi came into my life, it was a fabulous exchange for a PowerPoint--it looked nice, was easy to share, and students were excited about making presentations because they got to use Prezi. I liked those traits about this presentation tool, but now I am noticing its overuse. Students do not appear to be putting as much thought into these presentations, as they opt for pre made templates that do not really align with the needs of their presentation. Before, I encouraged all students to use Prezi. Now, I am allowing students to chose between Prezi, PowerPoint, and other presentation softwares (Google Presentation, Powtoon, Keynote, etc.) because I am noticing the quality among that selection is about the same. Perhaps it is me who has "been there done that," but I think Prezi has reached the same status quo as PowerPoint and does not have the shine it once had. Something that works really well with Prezi is the ability to post YouTube videos that you can watch at the click of a button as well as PDFs--it is an all encompassing presentation tool that does not require jumping through hoops to get the results. On the other end of the spectrum, the students are big fans of make you dizzy as they spin from one area of text to the next.