Prezi news – colours, fonts, and CSS!!

15 12 2010

Great news in my email inbox this morning. Prezi has now released the potential to be able to change colours and fonts, and even better opened up the potential to greater customisation with CSS styling of your prezis.

I am looking forward to trying this out when I get a chance, and will post feedback on the new features here.


One word to describe PowerPoint

3 12 2010

At both recent presentations I asked participants to write ‘one word to describe PowerPoint’ on a small slip of paper. These were then collected and some of them read out during the presentations. See all the responses combined into a tag cloud:

image of a tag cloud of words to describe PowerPoint

Screenshot of tag cloud generated by

As shown in the image above, the two most frequent words were linear and useful, and the others listed were: abused, ambivalent, a tool, backwards, basic, blackboard, bland, broken video, bullet-y, confining, easy, flat, functional, hell, helpful, inflexible, limiting, Microsoft, overused, powerful, predictable, presentation, proprietary, restrictive, rigid, sterile, sucks, tedious, uncreative, undercooked, visual

Paper published in Ariadne Issue 65

3 12 2010

As part of the extension to my research grant, supported by the University for the Creative Arts, I have been able to publish a paper in Ariadne.

Ariadne is a Web magazine for information professionals in archives, libraries and museums in all sectors.


Title: Locating Image Presentation Technology within Pedagogic Practice
Available from:

First experience of creating a Prezi

3 12 2010

Although I first blogged about Prezi back in February, I have so far resisted it. So today I decided to go for it, in preparation for the abstract I am submitting today to the University for the Creative Arts Learning and Teaching conference 2011.


  • Supports an iterative process.
  • Uses size of content and text to define hierarchy.
  • Ideally suited to brainstorming, mindmapping, and thought processes in which you want to gather content and then establish relationships between the content or ideas.
  • Supports collaborative working, and ‘Prezi Meetings’ (I think only up to 10 people can be co-editors though).
  • The layout of the whole Prezi IS the overview, i.e. no need for a summary slide that you may use in PowerPoint, however important to remind the audience of the overview by returning to this at key points.
  • Flexible navigation with the use of a mouse, arrow keys, remote clicker or their menu, however more practice required than with using PowerPoint!
  • You can embed Prezi in a blog or Web page, and this is something I am definitely interested in doing.
  • In the right hands this tool can be mind-blowing!


  • When you present for the first time the navigation and bubble menu disappear, to get back you need to know that you are supposed to hover over the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. It would be better if there was an option to either hide or show the navigation so the user is in control.
  • Video, image, and other files have a maximum file size of 50MB.
  • If you wanted to zoom into an image, then the level of detail is restricted by a maximum image size of 2880 x 2880 pixels.
  • This tool could be used very badly with disastrous effects e.g. making the audience dizzy – training and practice is needed for proper use.
  • Relying on an Internet connection to present is not ideal, therefore even if you work in education you need to pay an annual charge in order to be able to download your presentations and run them offline. Or you could print your presentation as a PDF and use that with less functionality (they recommend a linear path to avoid multiple pages of the same view).
  • Currently you have to use their colour schemes and fonts.
  • The Prezi approach is to keep things simple, but it does mean that all your content needs to be prepared prior to import e.g. you can’t add borders to images or choose when a video starts playing etc.
  • There is no support for sound files, the way around this is to use Flash video files that include the sound, this is restrictive if you don’t own Flash.
  • You can present without using a path in order to foster discussion with the audience; however if you then make the Prezi available it won’t have a path for them to be able to click through the presentation by themselves, and no autoplay option.

Learning and Teaching Seminar at UCA

3 12 2010

Last week’s Learning and Teaching Seminar at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham campus, was a great opportunity to present my research to other colleagues and to be challenged with some fantastic questions. I also really enjoyed hearing the other two presentations, one given using Prezi, and the other via a podcast.

Most people expect me to use Prezi in my presentations, but instead I went retro and did dual projection of images with a slide projector on one side, and a PowerPoint presentation on the other (NB: only images no text).

Experience of giving a slide lecture

1 12 2010

Following on from recent additional research, as well as some of the themes covered in my paper at the CHArt annual conference (11th November 2010), I wanted to actually experience creating and giving a slide lecture, and so I did this on 23rd November.

Notes and observations on giving a slide lecture

  • It is starting to be something a bit different, i.e. although I used slides on a couple of occasions as a student, there is a whole terminology and set-up to learn e.g. where are the slides kept? what are the terms of access?
  • The slide collection has to be physically visited; it made me realise how used I am to accessing virtual collections online any time I wanted.
  • As I discussed in my CHArt paper, each slide collection has its own idiosyncratic method of organisation, normally based on the academics who made requests to build up the collection in the first place.
  • The physical engagement with slide cabinets, pockets of slides, and other associated paraphernalia, is missing from the digital dialogue. I didn’t realise I missed this until I was choosing the slides and actually quite enjoying the immersive process, as opposed to frantically searching online in a much more distracting online environment than the physical Library.
  • After my slide lecture I had a few comments about the ‘nice images’, and although I couldn’t comment on the learning experience, certainly there is something to be said for the visual experience, and even the performative aspects of the slide projector.
  • Unfortunately the process did require a lot of effort on my part i.e. emails to locate the slides, time to choose them (i.e. because they were monographically organised and I wanted ‘themes’), and emails and phone calls to arrange the projection equipment in the room. I am not planning to use them again.