Big Praise for Prezi

I made my second “Prezi” this week.

In my class the children arrive during a 15 minute window before school starts. During that time, I usually have them settle in, read a morning message, and engage in a math problem as well as look up our word of the day in a dictionary.

Since I’ve taught at my school, there has always been an event called Celebration of Science. The kids love it. It includes a whole school assembly, hands on exhibits, and workshops that the children attend all organized by our wonderful science teacher.

I wanted even more of the day to include science including that short time in the morning when the kids arrive. I found a great video on youtube of adélie penguins nesting so that the children could take the time to observe some of the animal’s behaviors. Unfortunately, I couldn’t embed the video into a powerpoint slide since I’m using powerpoint 2003 on an XP machine. Well, prezi.com allows you to put youtube videos in a presentation and you don’t need any software loaded onto a computer other than your web browser.

While that slide was projected, I was able to teach the first two children how to use the interactive whiteboard to replay the video as others arrived. It took seconds for them to click on the board with the interactive stylus and figure out how it worked.

While we’ve all heard about death by powerpoint, using media effectively can motivate kids. A slide with tons of text on it is only good if you expect the children to read it in order to practice reading. Visual images should enhance lessons and slides should not be one slide after another of bullet points. Prezi is really one slide and you can choose how complicated to make it by zooming in and zooming out. Like with any technology, you can overdo it, but prezi is a nice free alternative to software that’s 7 years old. To me the board isn’t interactive if it’s just me interacting with it. Students need to interact with it too. With second graders the only downside is that they are too short to reach the upper half of the board. I suppose I could buy a stool or something like that to solve that problem. Anyway, if you’re a teacher, you should check out prezi.com. The free educator’s license gives you a few more features too.

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