Is Prezi like marmite?

22 10 2012

Result from Google Search for Marmite

Do people either love or hate Prezi?

Personally, I love Prezi (and I love Marmite), but the point of a presentation is the audience and so I care about what other people think. Two different comments about the same Prezi I gave recently:

1. I hope there won’t be too much pointless zooming, rotating and jumping around the screen.

2. After all the PowerPoints finally a Prezi!

The blog post Prezi and ‘Death by motion-sickness’ from January has also led me to this reflection. See also this blog post I just discovered titled Prezi, the Marmite of presentation tools from way back in October 2010.

Exploring the analogy with Marmite a little bit further. I guess that you could say Marmite comes in different containers for different purposes, from plastic squeezable…

Squeezy Marmite

… to sterling silver lidded glass pots of Marmite.

I am thinking both of how PowerPoint and Prezi can be used for different purposes (see also these comments by a Learning Technologist) and by extension, how Prezi can be adapted for different purposes.

Currently I use Prezi for:

So do you love or hate Prezi? and if you use Prezi – how do you use it?





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)




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.)





When PowerPoint is good

14 01 2012

To be honest, I am starting to get nostalgic for PowerPoint. I subscribe to the school of thought that it is the presenter not the tool that makes it a good presentation. Although I don’t discount the role some tools play in creating the presentation e.g. mindmapping and Prezi allowing certain patterns of thinking, whereas PowerPoint is a linear mode of thinking (more on this to follow). I also still agree with an earlier blog post that it is ‘horses for courses‘.

In researching about Prezi, I have mentioned thewikiman already (blog post, November 2011), however I haven’t mentioned that I am a fan of his PowerPoint presentations, available via SlideShare. My favourite two are below:

Stop Breaking the Basic Rules of Presenting

How to use Prezi and win: thewikiman’s 10 top tips to make a good one

The only problem with doing learning resources on Prezi is that it updates so frequently that things get out of date really quickly. Or to look at it positively, Prezi is always improving and responding to user feedback. I have been working on a short guide for the Create Curate Collaborate! project but keep hesitating about when to complete it as it could be out-of-date quite quickly, or I could just re-issue new versions as Prezi do with their learning materials (see blog post with Prezi learning links).





Death by Motion Sickness

13 01 2012

You’ve heard of ‘Death by PowerPoint’, well ‘Death by Prezi’ seems to be around the corner with ‘Death by Motion Sickness’. From searching the Internet for ‘Prezi’ and ‘motion sickness’ I found Tom Walton’s blog post from a year ago (Prezi for presentations, 22 January 2011), where he states:

We have “Death by PowerPoint”; “Death by motion sickness in Prezi” is an equally likely scenario.

This has not been an issue for me previously, but I have recently had a comment from someone about this effect of Prezi, which has actually caused them nausea for up to one hour after using the tool. We have set a plan in action in case this occurs with any of the students who are collaborating with us on ‘Create Curate Collaborate!‘, and we will be able to offer alternatives if the need arises.

Doing a bit more research into Prezi and motion sickness throws up the following recommendations:

Although this makes a slight improvement, to be honest the Prezi motion is starting to irritate me, even when moving very slightly in a straight path from one identically sized object to another. These tips have also not solved the problem for my colleague at all.

springerspandrel from within the Prezi Community website has written a really good post about one month ago, about what needs to be done to solve the ‘bounce’ issue: Path trajectory (and zoom) options to reduce bounce and sea-sickness and I quote:

 “pogo-stick” feel of the path animations

and

In general, the little “zippy bounce” effect along every bit of path (even between same-size nodes) is a bit too cutesy for me sometimes.

Sorry Prezi, but I have to agree. The great thing about Prezi is that they are constantly changing and evolving and respond to user requests much faster than any other presentation software programmes that I am aware of – so watch this space!





Minute Madness

14 12 2011

This post is about lessons learned from my first experience of ‘minute madness’ – a one minute presentation given in a group of about 30 people last week at the International Digital Curation Conference (IDCC).

Lessons Learned

  • 60 seconds is a surprisingly long time – next time I would think of it in terms of 3 x 20 seconds (i.e. 3 pecha kucha slides)
  • the best PowerPoint slides were simple –  even though people normally read PowerPoint slides whilst presenters are talking, the 1-minute focuses much more on the presenter and much less on the slide
  • include an image and key contact detail e.g. URL or email address on the slide
  • trying to get your point across in 1 minute means the focus is not on the information but rather on: 1. a hook OR something crazy to grab attention and be memorable – the stranger the better; 2. remembering to give your contact details




Implications of the potential proliferation of tablet technology

28 09 2011

Twitter is abuzz with the excitement of the pending release of Amazon’s new tablet device to rival the iPad.

An excellent summary of the news story is available via the Chicago Tribune’s website, referencing The Wall Street Journal 6:10 a.m. CDT, September 28, 2011: ‘Amazon unveiling new tablet to challenge iPad today

I would like to allocate some time to look into the nature of tablet devices and to explore how an increase in both awareness and use of such hardware may impact on use of presentation technology and presentation style/approach. Some questions I am pondering:

  • Would an increase in the use of tablet devices by the general population effect the expectations of students or audiences?
  • Would they expect a greater level of interactivity during presentations? For example through using their own tablet devices?
  • For presenters, will they more noticeably start to break away from using PowerPoint if they have greater options and control in the use of personal or institutional tablet devices? For example by using apps such as Prezi for iPad or Keynote for iPad?




Pecha Kucha presentation tips

7 09 2011

I gave my first Pecha Kucha presentation as part of a session at the REPOfringe 2011, University of Edinburgh. Some thoughts/notes below:

  • Pronouncing Pecha Kucha: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdghID66kLs
  • Creating a Pecha Kucha in PowerPoint 2007 i.e. 20 images each on the screen for 20 seconds: choose 20 images and store in a folder; open PPt 2007 and select ‘Insert’ then select ‘Photo Album’ and ‘New Photo Album’; in the dialogue box select Insert picture from ‘File/Disk…’ and browse to your folder of images; select all 20 images and choose ‘Insert’; from the drop-down list for Picture Layout choose ‘1 picture’ then select ‘Create’; delete the auto-generated title slide; in the Slide Sorter view select all 20 slides then choose ‘Animations’ and at the end of the ribbon under ‘Advance Slide’ tick the check box for ‘Automatically After’ and add ’00:20′ which will provide a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds.
  • The winner of the REPOfringe Pecha Kucha Session (day 1) was Shelia Fraser (EDINA) on ‘Using OpenURL Activity Data’

    http://rfringe11.blogs.edina.ac.uk/2011/08/03/liveblog-pecha-kucha-session-1/
    And the video of Shelia’s talk is available via YouTube.

  • .

  • Using Prezi for Pecha Kucha: select ‘show mode’ press and hold the right arrow in the navigation bar and you will see an option layer sliding out, select autoplay every 20 seconds

    (Reference – http://blog.prezi.com/2010/01/28/prezis-in-davos-tim-berners-lee/)

  • Exemplar Pecha Kucha presentation using Prezi: my vote for the REPOfringe Pecha Kucha Session (day 2) was Robbie Ireland and Toby Hanning (Enlighten, Glasgow University) – Glasgow Mini-REF exercise available here: http://prezi.com/peualtehcmhq/you-are-the-mini-ref/
    and see also: http://rfringe11.blogs.edina.ac.uk/2011/08/04/liveblog-pecha-kucha-session-2/
  • The most engaging Pecha Kucha presentations used full screen images rather than bullet-pointed slides, although diagrams were interesting there wasn’t really time to explain them.
  • I spent at least as long, if not longer, preparing my Pecha Kucha 6 minute and 40 second presentation then I would preparing a ‘normal’ presentation, but still I think it would have benefited from even more run-throughs to make it more seamless i.e. to avoid the ‘gaps’.




PowerPoint versus posters

26 05 2011

At The Art of Presentation event recently, I met Jac Cattaneo from Northbrook College Sussex, an affiliated college of the University of Brighton. She worked on a Visual Practices Project for LearnHigher that looked at the use of individually-designed posters instead of PowerPoint as a visual aid in assessed student presentations.

More information about the project is available here:
http://www.brighton.ac.uk/visuallearning/project-news/cattaneo/

The above Web page also includes links to the Full Project Report as well as a PDF guide to using posters to support research presentations. Having looked at the guide I am inspired to use it in combination with the technology possibilities of Prezi.





From the audience’s perspective

22 03 2011

Some personal thoughts about a recently attended event, which shall remain anonymous in order to make candid reflections (not revelations though as I expect most people have had similar experiences/thoughts):

  • The room environment can impinge on the learning experience. We were warned about the erratic temperature control before the beginning of the event; it didn’t bother me but noticeably bothered others including one attendee who donned a knitted hat!
  • A total blackout can make a more immersive learning experience. In the case of one presentation the total blackout was very effective, creating an almost cinematic experience due to the speaker’s clever use of PowerPoint (building a visual narrative) and excellent oral delivery.
  • A total blackout can be really physically uncomfortable and disconcerting. It must have been a good number of years since I last experienced a lecture theatre in such darkness; when the lights came on for questions at the end of each presentation everyone was virtually blinded by the light. It was also impossible to take notes during most of the presentations, apart from those presentations which included slides with white backgrounds when there was just enough light to see.
  • I reflected on the presentations given at the event thinking about how I could improve both the PowerPoint presentations I have given as well as improve my presentation skills generally. From conversations with others at the event I think this largely comes down to: good visuals; clever use of terminology; clarity of thought and expression; and above all practice!!