Rabbi Zach Swigard teaches 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy and is the administrative director for BILU, both in Beverly Hills, California. Rabbi Swigard also teaches a college level, Touro accredited class at BILU titled, “Modern Jewish Questions”.
Have you ever wanted to present an idea or concept but lacked the full ability to express it visually due to the blandness of Powerpoint? If so, you’ll love Prezi! Prezi is a cloud-based presentation app that completely changes the way that we present ideas. Prezi has actually been dubbed the Powerpoint on steroids, and for good reason. Instead of working on a slide to slide basis like in Powerpoint, Prezi allows you to organize your thoughts and put all of your content, whether it is text, graphics, or videos, on a single canvas. As you move from each section of the presentation, Prezi zooms along your created “path”.
Prezi has a nice amount of templates, themes, and styles that can share your idea in a very visual way. As an added bonus, Prezi gives educators a free upgraded account. At first glance there are three account levels with the most basic one being free, but if you go here and press “Enjoy Edu”, you will automatically be signed up for an upgraded account for free (as long as you use your school email address) that allows you more storage space, private presentations, and premium support.
To a newcomer this may seem a bit confusing and complex. Click here to see an example of some of the powerful things that Prezi offers through a presentation I made on the bracha of Shma Koleinu. I created this Prezi as an interactive guide to the bracha. The beginning two slides set the tone with the music and the picture. While the music plays in the background, I would ask some open ended questions and begin a introductory discussion. As you move further through the slides, I try to present the idea that unlike humans, Hashem is able to hear all of our tefillos. At times kids may feel that they are not important enough for Hashem to listen to their tefillos and the goal is to show how Hashem is able to care for each of us as His own children and that we are all important to Him.
Here’s another example: It’s of a Prezi of a back to school presentation that I showed incoming parents. Click here to view it in its entirety.
Teaching Prezi through a blog is quite difficult and probably not worthwhile for anyone. I have two links below that can show you the basics. In almost all new tech/educational tools, there is a learning curve. Prezi is no different. However, if you would like to take your presentations to an entirely new level, I think you’ll certainly enjoy this program!
Here is a solid beginners video:
My Six Tips to a Successful Prezi
Too much zoom and move can cause dizziness. Many newbies are excited about the zooming capabilities that Prezi offers. I recommend leaving them to a minimum. Sure, you can flip and turn to no end, but it actually will confuse and even bother people if it’s too much.
First and foremost you have to have a goal. Think of an upcoming presentation/class and write down the MAIN thing you want your class to know, feel, or do after you are done. Afterwards, brainstorm potential metaphors for your teaching goal. Then, look up images/multimedia that could potentially fit your metaphor for the greatest effect.
Already created Powerpoint presentations? No problem! You are able to import old Powerpoint documents you’ve already made and spice them up through Prezi.
Collaborate! Prezi gives you the ability to share your presentation and view it with up to 10 others while editing together over the internet.
You can convert all of your slides to PDF to print.
- Prezi can also be installed (Prezi Desktop) so you can use it without internet access.