Prezi, Not Quite a PowerPoint Killer
15 March 2011 2 Comments
My colleagues and I were recently asked by our Associate Dean, Teaching & Learning, if anyone was using Prezi for presentations. He pointed us to a video claiming Prezi is a PowerPoint killer. I have been using Prezi on an off for more than a couple of years. My reply to him:
I have used Prezi for a couple of years or so but only for giving special talks. It is easy to use once you master the click and zoom approach and produces smoothly animated presentations in which you can embed media of various kinds. Here is a Prezi I did a couple of years ago:
Another summary talk about Twitter I gave for a lecturer in another Bond subject is at: http://prezi.com/kggkswvvxlnl/
Provided you make the Prezis public you can show them from any Internet machine with a browser but it must have Flash. This excludes iPhone and iPad where you have to use a special app.
For formal presentations which are part of a subject syllabus I don’t find Prezi very useful. It is not possible to tell the students ‘check the information on slide x’ and the student must have an Internet connection to see the Prezi (less of a problem these days).
While I would dearly love a relevant alternative to PowerPoint I don’t think Prezi is it.
At the time of writing this post I notice Prezi is equal 7th on the emerging Top 100 Tools for Learning being compiled by Jane Hart in her well-regarded Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies. The excellent Slideshare presentation repository for conventional slide decks is sitting at 11th and PowerPoint itself is at equal 48 on the list.
After sending the message I reflected further and asked myself the question ‘What would I use rather than PowerPoint for lecture slides?’. Of late I have tried other Prezi-class Flash apps that employ the conventional slide-by-slide model. SlideRocket (especially the Google Chrome app) is one but response times are slow, the free version is limited, and exported slide shows are watermarked.
My current favourite of this type is 280Slides which is snappier, simpler and offers export direct to Slideshare. Exporting to PowerPoint format now appears to work although needs to use the repair option in PowerPoint before the presentation will open properly. Like Prezi these two Flash-based apps will not run on iOS on the iPad and iPhone and require dedicated apps on those devices.
Far and away my favourite ‘replacement’ for PowerPoint is the Presentations component of Google Apps. This is a very simple copy of PowerPoint running in a browser and hence is very easy to learn. The ability to create and insert Google Drawings in a slide makes for professional presentations for only slide shows. Google Presentations display correctly on iPhone/iPad but as yet can’t be edited. Nevertheless Documents (like Word) and Spreadsheets from Google Apps can be edited on the iOS devices and we can expect Presentations to follow soon.