Prezi!!! I first saw a Prezi several years ago used during a senior project presentation. I was intrigued by how fluid the movements were – but was also a little disconcerted by HOW MUCH movement there was. I think that this might be a rookie mistake by new users to overly rely on all the bells and whistles that Prezi might offer.
Prezi is an Hungarian company that was started in 2008, offering cloud based presentation tools. It is similar Powerpoint but offers ready made templates that allows you to drag and drop photos, images, videos and a multitude of other things onto it. It seems to be fairly simple – although I will have to say that while trying to make one, I kept getting caught up in HOW MUCH stuff I could do with it, kind of making it overwhelming. I think the ease of the program and practice will actually make it less daunting as time goes on.
This is a relatively new tutorial (2013)
I spent about an hour playing with it – while I was watching a lot of tutorials. I created a very, very rudimentary Prezi.
You can add video and sound as well, but I decided that one hour was enough for now. But it was a lot of fun.
Reading what an essential question is was rather fascinating. I found that there have been the meanderings of questions ruminating around my mind for quite awhile now. As I was thinking on this subject, on how to narrow down what I really wanted to focus on, I had to explain essential questions to a friend. I told him that it wasn’t as big as “Why are we?” but quite a bit bigger than, “How do you turn on the dang computer?” I have been involved with education as either a parent, a volunteer, a substitute, a teacher or as a media assistant for over 16 years. I have found myself thinking variations of this question for quite awhile.
How can we balance “traditional” knowledge and research with technology?
The past several years I have had the immense please and sometimes excruciating task of helping judge senior or graduation project portfolios at several local high schools. If you are not familiar with these, this is a required project here in North Carolina (although apparently it is now only required on a district to district basis) A senior must take a subject and research it for an entire semester, They must present their research in a portfolio that includes a paper and a physical product. I have judged woodcarving, hydroponic growing methods, Crew rowing, small engine repair, photography, body image issues, staged sword combat, and many many other topics.
That question has been building in my mind all this time because I have witnessed some excellent examples of a student who can present a well crafted paper and project and uses technology to showcase their hard work. I have also witnessed students who had no technology in their project at all and it ended up looking like something a middle school student from the 1980’s would have done. I I have also witnessed a third, more disturbing example. A student presents a lot of shiny technology, a snazzy Power Point or Prezi, or some other fancy technology and it looks pretty. But the content – or the meat of the presentation is not there.
The high schools try to get as many community volunteers to judge these as they possibly can. As a result, I have been in a room with another judge who has been blow away by the sparkly shiny technology and not even realized that the nuts and bolts of research were incredibly inadequate. I have examined myself to make sure that I am not being too hard on a young adult that is trying their hardest, but I keep coming back to the same concern. Are students and maybe by extension, some educators relying on technology too much without emphasizing that the knowledge is needed to go hand in hand with it to make it truly a work of cohesive and collaborative learning.
I think this question is going to take much sharper focus in my mind as I am exposed to much more technology.
This can encompass so many things. Are we referring to someone who is professional lecturer? A teacher that can make a difference with their students? Perhaps a parent that can effectively communicate with their children?
An effective speaker, in my mind, can paint a picture with words. A really good business meeting can have an effective keynote speaker, of course. They convey an idea that is important and the audience is fully engaged and understands completely. It doesn’t necessarily have to be poetic or dramatic all the time, but I happen to very involved in theatre. I seem to live, eat and breathe all things dramatic. As such, this is where my mind went. An actor conveys the thoughts of the playwright. Of course not all actors are good. Some make a theatrical experience downright cringeworthy. But when someone who is good and knows WHAT they are saying – it can be a sublime experience. The Hamlet “To be” soliloquy is perhaps one of the best known speeches in history. But it can be overwrought and scene chewing. What is Hamlet saying? Is it an emotional diatribe, big and bombastic? Or is it a heartwrenching thought process a man who is teetering on madness brought about by grief? I chose this particular video clip, because I feel that the actor, David Tennant, does this speech justice by playing it small. It effectively portrays, not a lunatic, which is so often how Hamlet is portrayed. But rather, it is sparse and small and in those small gestures, it conveys the pain and confusion of a man who has perhaps lost grips with reality.