This post is part of 23 Things for Professional Development.
This Thing is all about presenting information. I’ve a small amount of experience with both tools explored here, so no new work to do – instead, I’ll share some of my thoughts on what I have and haven’t found useful with these tools.
Prezi has some obvious advantages over a standard Powerpoint presentation. It’s all different and shiny, so you’re likely to get a good reaction from your audience, if only because it’ll contrast with the (probably) deathly dull PPTs they sat through before your whizzy Prezi. The “blank canvas” you start with means you’re freed from the linear format that most presentation software forces you into. And playing with scale and embedding objects means you can get really creative with how you present information.
Even given all of the above, I just don’t like Prezi. I’ve only really used it once, in the Echo Chamber presentation I co-produced with Ned Potter, aka thewikiman. Incidentally, Ned is a Prezi master – he did all the hard work on the Echo Chamber prezi – and you should totally check out his user guide and examples of his work if you want to learn more about how to make good prezis. I can see the appeal, and I think if it’s done well it can look fantastic (although, on the other hand, if it’s done badly I actually think it’s worse than Death By PowerPoint), I think I just don’t have the patience for it. I don’t find it very user-friendly or intuitive to use, and it just seems like far, far more effort to make a good Prezi than it does to make a good PowerPoint (it can be done!). Also, the non-linear thing isn’t really a selling point for me – I’m a fairly linear thinker (e.g. I will always write a bullet-pointed list of notes rather than draw a mind-map), so the structure of a PowerPoint actually works better for my learning style.
So, to sum up: can be very good if done well, worth exploring if you’re an arty, non-linear thinker, but it’s not for me.
I do have a Slideshare account, but there is very little on it at the moment – mainly because I haven’t done that much presenting! I can see it is very useful for sharing presentations if you do lots of them, and it’s something I’ll probably make more use of in future. As for finding other people’s presentations: it can be useful for this, but it’s not something I’ve done much of – if I want to learn something, I’m more likely to seek out a blog post or journal article, i.e. something with lots of words, rather than a presentation. Again, this is probably down to learning preferences – I learn by reading and thinking about things, not really by looking.
Two good Things this week – neither of them were new to me, but a good opportunity to think a bit more about how I do/don’t use them and why.