Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ms. York...Please Don't Make Us Do PowerPoint!

I have heard the groans and the gripes from my students on more than one occasion when any murmur of having to do a PowerPoint is brought up.  The fact is that as adults we're tired of watching boring PowerPoints, but we also can get through them when they have a purpose and it's necessary.  Really, when you just need to show a few pieces of information PowerPoint serves just fine.  Our students however, don't think PowerPoint is cool.  No matter how you swing it.  I also know that if I want students to really feel connected to the work they do, they need to enjoy doing it.  With Prezi, I feel like students can get creative and be engaged all the while showcasing their work.  As a bonus while Prezi is still new they might pay more attention if you use it instead of PowerPoint.  So here are some tips for using Prezi with your students and learning how to use it yourself, along with the resources and presentation I gave today at TeachMeet Nashville.

Tips for Using With Students

  • Plan, plan, plan....and then plan some more.  
    • No matter the age level I've found students need some time to take in Prezi and really learn to work with it.  Because of this they often have trouble with the general organization of their presentation.  Just like students need to plan their writing, they need to plan their presentations as well.  In fact I use a modified SPAM packet (our school/district uses SPAM as a writing format/plan) for all my students to plan their presentations.  I'd modify it as needed for different projects and grade levels, but it's always essentially organized the same no matter what.  Here's what my Pre-Write sheet looks like...feel free to borrow or steal.
  • Show MANY Examples
    • I told this story in my presentations today, and it happened in more than one class and grade level every rotation of students without fail.  I would show a class an example of a good Prezi, and ALL of their Prezi's would come out organized the same way.  So make sure you show your students examples so they can get ideas, or let them explore ideas on Prezi, but either way don't send them off on their own with one example or you'll have 20 more of the same example to choose from for next time.
  • Sharing Students' Prezis
    • I taught middle school in 6-7 week rotations so I only got to see some of my students for 30-35 class periods all year long.  We definitely didn't always have time to set aside 4 days for class presentations, so I still found ways to have them share their work and receive authentic feedback.  Edmodo is great for posting Prezis, they can be embedded in posts on class walls so all students can look at them and make comments.  I've also used Kidblog and had students write a summary of their work along with sharing links to Prezis so that their classmates had a chance to comment on their work.


So after all of that rambling here are the resources that I either used in my presentation today or promised to share.  You'll also find information on the Presentation tab at the top of this blog.

Prezi (on Prezi)Prezi Guidelines (I share with students)More Prezi Resources