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Prezi: Put A Little Zing In Your Lecture

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Written by: Evan Sanderson

If placing slide after slide is starting to give you nightmares, we may just have the answer to your PowerPoint fatigue. Introducing Prezi (www.prezi.com): a virtual canvas that allows you to deliver content in an interesting, new way. Instead of moving on a linear track (a la PowerPoint), Prezi allows user to zoom around between different pieces of content.

The idea behind this is to incorporate multimedia content in a more engaging manner. Not only does Prezi allow you to think outside the box when it comes to presentations, it also gives out free academic accounts for students and faculty. Just use your AU email address to register!

To learn more, watch CTRL’s video on Prezi here:

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Video is Worth A Whole Bunch of Words

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“If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth ten thousand.”
That’s the theory, anyway, when it comes to online content. Video is increasingly becoming the lingua franca of the digital realm. As advertisements, educational technology, and entertainment all train us in the visual and auditory vocabulary of this content style, it becomes incumbent upon us as educators to incorporate this skillset into the classroom. It’s a powerful tool in the toolbox of the educator.

To that end, the Teaching and Learning Resource Group has unveiled a new project that will put this theory into practice. We looked around our office and saw not only a wealth of information on a variety of instructional technologies and methodologies, but a group of engaging and creative teachers. Why not (we asked ourselves) create a video repository to leverage our collective knowledge? And so we have begun to do just that, figuring that if video is the language of the Internet, then it can also serve our purpose to supplement our workshops, events, and trainings.

Beginning this month, we plan on releasing a series of videos illuminating some of our favorite instructional technologies. From Google Drive, to Prezi, to RSS feeds–we want to develop a range of content that will be accessible and useful to AU faculty and staff. The videos will function as both promotions for various instructional aids, and as primers for their specific functions.

Take, for example, our Google Drive promo. We created this video specifically for educators, focusing on how Docs can be used to comment on students’ work, how Google Presentation can be used in lieu of PowerPoint to develop classroom lessons, and how Forms can be used to administer tests and quizzes. These videos are selected and designed for you.

If you have any suggestions for future video topics, or questions about the process, please feel free to contact us at CTRLtlr@american.edu. And stay tuned for our first video on Google Drive, to be released later next week!

Zoom Into a New Way to Present Info with Prezi

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When it’s time  to make a presentation for class and you need to have visuals to support your ideas, you’re likely to turn to PowerPoint. Right? Of course, what else is out there?

There is another interesting option available called Prezi.  It’s a cloud-based presentation software for sharing ideas on a virtual canvas. It will allow you to command the transition of your information in a whole new way that you wouldn’t get from a usual PowerPoint presentation. (Plus it’s a good way to keep your audience awake!) Prezi is distinguished by its zooming user interface that allows users to zoom in and out of their presentation media.

Take a look at some example presentations on Prezi’s website. You’ll be blown away and wonder how you can make such a complicated-looking presentation, but really, it is very easy to get started and organize the hierarchy of your information.

Things to know before you get started: You can sign up for 100 MB for free, but for more, you’ll have to pay. (You can definitely get a lot done with the free option!).  You can upload the images and text that you will need for your presentation onto the Prezi canvas. Also, since this is a cloud-based software, you will need connection to the internet when you present this from your computer. If you’re working with a group, you can also invite them through Prezi to work with you.  You can learn more about how it’s done here.

Impress your friends with a Prezi presentation!