By Judy D'Ammasso Tarbox, PhD.
Over the years I have worked with Power Point a lot in a variety of contexts to achieve a multitude of goals. I have used it for formal presentations at conferences and in meetings, to present lessons in face-to-face classes, to form the basis of simple mp4 videos for online and hybrid classes, to create storyboards or wireframes for web design, and as an interactive platform for digital texts. However, a couple of years ago I began hearing about a new game in town, Prezi. I did some basic noodling with Prezi but haven’t spent much time working with it until today.
I am working with two general composition classes this week on final presentations. We are working with visual arguments and creating a presentation of some kind regarding their analysis of a visual argument. I say of some kind because they are allowed to work with Power Point, Weebly, a movie creator like Windows Movie Maker, or Prezi. The result, I decided to create a “Prezi” myself so I can demonstrate and compare and contrast the two platforms of Power Point and Prezi.
I started with an existing slide show on “Reports” that I created for a business writing class. This slide show is a simple introduction to the topic, has a short, embedded video and hyperlinked sample documents. It works great – very efficiently with limited maintenance – that of checking the hyperlinks to ensure they are working. I can upload it into the LMS platform for students in all types of classes – face-to-face, online, and hybrid. Having said this, while the video and links provide some interactivity and expand the message, it is just a basic slide show without movement. Enter Prezi.
In order to compare apple to apples, I worked with the existing slide show. I saved the Power Point as .jpeg, selected a basic Prezi template and began to build my Prezi text. After watching a brief YouTube video about developing a Prezi, I was able to pull my presentation together very quickly. The ability to transition and work with images that become part of the transitions was very nice and does give the presentation a sense of movement. However, the inability to download my short, mp4 video created another step of having to post my video to YouTube and inserting it through my YouTube channel. The other major issue I have is the inability to create dynamic hyperlinks the way I have them on Power Point. I found a way around the hyperlink situation, but I still cannot figure out how to have them open in another screen. I much prefer Power Point for this function.
My conclusion? If I am working with a dynamic text for lessons, I will continue to use Power Point because I can embed multimedia elements and hyperlinks much easier. If I want a simple presentation, I may work with Prezi because the animation that can be created very easily is nice.