Prezi at Northbrook College Sussex

28 05 2012

This blog post is about a one-hour lunchtime session given to the Creative Writing Group at Northbrook College Sussex, 22nd March 2012.

Background

Following the day at UCA Rochester when I had the opportunity to meet Curtis Tappenden’s Creative Writing Group and talk about Prezi with them, I then had a chance to visit Jac Cattaneo’s Creative Writing Group at Northbrook College Sussex. The aim of the visit was to give the students a chance for a hands-on session with Prezi following their introduction to Prezi at the V&A. I based this session on the approach I had taken with the ‘Mappa Mundi’ brief.

The Prezi
(the Prezi is also available via this link – I recommend that the volume is put on mute)

Lessons Learned
The following reflection has been written around two months after the session was given:

  • The computer room was very well equipped and laid out (including a touch-screen whiteboard which I wasn’t expecting), it was also a good size group to work with (12 people).
  • Although Jac had spent time arranging for educational email addresses for the attendees, logging into Prezi was still time consuming and not as straightforward as expected.
  • Once everyone was logged-in I was able to demo a few features and by the end of the session all of the participants had created their first Prezi.
  • With the Creative Writing Groups at both UCA and Northbrook College the things that make them so effective for Creative Writing can be detrimental to learning a new technology; that is the groups are: extra-curricular, and very diverse with a mixed range of skills and interests. As quoted in our Interim Report to UCA (April 2012):

    As the Creative Writing Groups are both extra-curricular this has had benefits as well as disadvantages; for example students (in the questionnaires) liked that this was something they weren’t being assessed on which they could just enjoy. As the sessions are entirely voluntary this means that the students are more engaged and from a range of diverse backgrounds enabling collaboration across courses and disciplines within each institution; however this diversity also means that there is a wider range of abilities and interests and that the number of students attending the sessions and visits can vary.

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Prezi at UCA Rochester

28 05 2012

This blog post is about a day spent working with FE students at University for the Creative Arts, Rochester campus, 8th March 2012.

Background

About 70 FE students (16-17 year olds) were working on an assessed project about maps called ‘Mappa Mundi’; I was invited to give a workshop to them about using Prezi in this context (3 x one-hour sessions in a computer room).

The Prezi
(link here if the Prezi doesn’t display below – recommend playing with volume on mute)

Lessons Learned
(taken from an email written to a colleague on 20th March)

  • I think it would have been better if I could have thought of a better way to break the ice at the beginning of the session and a more memorable way to end the session too.
  • I didn’t appreciate how much help they would need logging into Prezi (it didn’t help that Prezi have recently changed their interface again so my screencast is already out-of-date.). Next time I would allow more time and instruction for this.
  • I didn’t realise that many of the students wouldn’t know their email addresses – this was resolved by displaying guidance on the board about how to access their email.
  • Prezi maybe uniquely was okay with students on Facebook as I could mention what the pluses and minuses were i.e. if they logged in via Facebook instead of UCA email they’d get less storage and only be able to have public Prezis.
  • If I’d had any examples of the students’ own Prezis to demonstrate I think this would definitely have enhanced the session.
  • A lot of one-to-one help was needed i.e. spending time going from student to student and asking them how they were getting on and what I could do to help.
  • Finally the students needed a tighter brief for ‘creating a Prezi’.




Reflections on Prezi

17 02 2012

I have had good feedback from two recent presentations using Prezi (JISC funded Kultivate and eNova projects). These were both end-of-project presentations, so Prezi let me take a range of material – a few PowerPoint slides (PDF); some images and screenshots; a couple of screencasts (which play fine on the offline version as I imported SWF files) – and then pull this together with Prezi’s own tools and features into a narrative.

This has inspired the following new list of pros and cons with Prezi:

Prezi is perfect for …

  • telling a story
  • providing context
  • opening up new modes of thinking – ideal for research thinking
  • providing a canvas, which is great for creative people
  • Prezi really works beautifully with PDF, SWF and FLV file formats
  • even though more and more people are using Prezi it is still possible to provide that ‘wow’ factor, which is always a bonus

Prezi could improve …

  • stop showing the bracket frame and ‘Double-click to add text’ EVERY time you select ‘blank canvas’ from the templates dialogue
  • allow more than three types/styles of font at one time
  • give clear warnings if the file sizes are too large which makes Prezi crash (Prezi’s that download for offline use at about 25 MB or less seem okay, but 40MB + just doesn’t seem to work)
  • part of me thinks it would be great if Prezi could enhance tools like editing images and creating shapes; but the other part of me appreciates the simplicity i.e. you can do effects in other programmes and then import them – but maybe more integration with the Adobe family of products would be good (e.g. this is something Extensis Portfolio offers for example)




CCC at University of Brighton Pedagogy conference

4 02 2012

Yesterday Jac Cattaneo of Northbrook College presented the project’s Create Curate Collaborate! interactive Prezi poster at the University of Brighton’s Annual Pedagogic Conference.





CCC at the V & A

4 02 2012

Our Create Curate Collaborate! project continued apace with the first trip to the V&A with the students on Wednesday, facilitated by Leanne Manfredi of the V&A. A day’s exploration into Creative Writing at the V&A, designed and presented by Jac Cattaneo and Curtis Tappenden, was the primary focus for the 21 students, from Northbrook College and University for the Creative Arts.

As part of the programme for the day I was invited to do a session on Prezi. This was in four parts, and I share it here in case it is useful for anyone else to use/re-use/adapt/amend. Feedback is definitely welcomed!

Part 1. Verbal introduction
I introduced myself and explained what we were going to do and how long it would take (45 minutes). To enable us to evaluate the project the students were also asked to complete brief paper (1 side of A4) questionnaires. This had already been mentioned as part of the project consent forms they signed before undertaking the trip. Chocolate as an afternoon ‘sweetener’ too!

Part 2. An analogue introduction to the concept of Prezi

You will need (per two students): one sheet of A3 plain paper, three different colour felt-tip pens, a block of post-it notes, some printed out images from the V&A Collections website

The explanation: the sheet of paper represents the Prezi canvas; online this is almost infinite (the paper is limited as one student wrote down); the post-it notes represent the text boxes that you can have in Prezi (click anywhere to add a piece of text then move this around like a post-it note); the images from the V&A were designed to show how Prezi could be used following our visit to the V&A; the felt-tip pens were for writing on the post-it notes (although the students naturally drew arrows as well which demonstrates another Prezi feature too!).

The brief: students were asked to work in pairs with the materials, the object was to define relationships and links between the images (V&A museum objects) based on their own feelings and expressed with phrases of creative writing on the post-it notes. One student was happy to talk about her analogue Prezi to the others and communicated her ideas really clearly to the rest of the group.

Part 3. YouTube demo

I let the following screencast (which I had prepared earlier) play, and described verbally what was happening.

Part 4. Demo of example Prezi

The students were shown the ‘interactive poster’ Prezi that we had created for the University of Brighton Pedagogy conference. They particularly liked the zoom into the Moon Stone jar on the V&A map. This then led into any questions. I gave a one-side-of-A4 handout for their reference: download Prezi handout (PDF).

Follow-up

Jac and Curtis will now support the students getting signed up with Prezi EDU Enjoy user accounts (a few are already signed up), and then I will visit each group of students for another Prezi session.





Removing the Prezi Motion

30 01 2012

Whilst watching the keynote presentation (given in Prezi) at the University for the Creative Arts Learning and Teaching conference last week, Curtis and I were really struck that it didn’t have any ‘bounce’.

As mentioned previously I have followed various tips and tricks and experimented in Prezi to reduce the ‘sea sick’ motion, also described in a Prezi community post as a ‘pogo-stick’ motion. However there is still a noticeable slight bounce between the path nodes.

At the end of last week I experimented with Adobe Captivate, screencasting software. The result is completely flat – no motion at all. This could be good or bad depending on what you want to achieve with Prezi, i.e. this might work for some people who find Prezi more attractive than PowerPoint but don’t like the Prezi motion? To achieve this, first of all create a Prezi; then in Show mode record a screencast using Adobe Captivate; make the slides move forward via a mouse click; finally present using the resulting Captivate SWF file.

Note: a few hours after writing the above post, I also remembered a much easier alternative – you can of course select Print and ‘print to PDF’; and then present using the PDF – this is probably what the keynote speakers did! (I also presented from a Prezi PDF for the ‘The Art of Presentation’ Learning and Teaching event back in May 2011.)





Prezi Triple Whammy at UCA!

30 01 2012

The Create Curate Collaborate! project team were delighted to have an abstract accepted for the University for the Creative Arts Learning and Teaching conference, held at the British Library on Wednesday 25th January 2012. This conference is always really inspiring and a great opportunity to catch up with colleagues across the University; this year’s opening keynote was even given in Prezi!

Our session titled ‘Considering blended communication- creative thinking, writing and image making- through initial explorations of Prezi non-linear, digital presentation tools.’ comprised of three very different Prezis:

The audience arrived to the sounds of ‘Walk the Line’ on vinyl, and white grapes; Curtis Tappenden, artist, author and poet, presented a ‘Prezi Poem’ titled ‘Prezi Hesi Tate’:

I provided some background to our project and how the use of Prezi has changed my thinking from a linear example using a screencast of PowerPoint slides, to the Prezi non-linear; ‘Create Curate Collaborate!’:

Two of the students from Curtis’ Creative Writing Group at Rochester: Annabel Giraud-Telme and Benjamin Viney gave an outstanding presentation on their own personal experience of using Prezi; ‘We walk the line’:

I have learnt so much from my colleagues Jac and Curtis, and also from the students. Unfortunately Jac Cattaneo wasn’t able to attend but her contribution was very much evident in terms of the paper we co-wrote together in Google Docs, and also particularly in the cross-over between Curtis and Jac’s creative writing groups.

Next step, an interactive poster Prezi for University of Brighton!