I’d read about it and I’d even seen it in action on Will Richardson’s blog but I didn’t get around to trying it until today. I’m talking about Prezi – a new online presentation tool. I love it. It’s in a beta release right now so in order to give it a spin you go to their site, sign up to try and then they’ll send you an email with a link to enter the beta site. Once you’re in, it’s really quite easy (and they have some very helpful video tutorials right there on the site). I just love the interface of this thing. Your working space is a big, white grid (looks like graph paper) and the tool palette is a small cluster of blue dots in the upper left hand corner (one dot for each function – path, place, media, etc). When you click on a blue dot to select it, they all spin, bringing your choice to the active, front position. You upload media (photos, videos, pdfs, whatever), plop your asset down, add text, and then draw a “path” from one to the next, to the next. You can always shift the assets to any position and you can alter the path anytime. Once you’re done, play it, and you’ll see the effect. Here’s the link to the prezi presentation I put together on Charles Darwin and the Voyage of the Beagle (I can’t get it to embed in WordPress ….grrrrr). You can also download it to your computer and play it locally.
There’s a lot to like about this tool. First of all it’s free and it’s all online – so you can get to it (and to your presentations) from any internet connection. It allows you to build a very dynamic presentation and place the focus (by zooming and moving) on the elements that you think are most important. I could see making small presentations, like my little Darwin jobber, and posting them on a wiki or a web site for students to access. I could also imagine students using this (with much better effects than I was able to achieve in the 30 minutes I had to give it!) for projects, science fairs, or group reports.
Easy and intuitive interface, fun to use, free, and well worth a look.