As I looked through the Internet for inspiration regarding the use of technology in ESL learning, I came across Prezi. To me, a Prezi presentation is a cross section between a Mind Map and a PowerPoint presentation.
The first thing that strikes me about Prezi is that it is nonlinear. A PowerPoint presentation allows you to go from one point to the other to the next. You can go back a few slides, but you cannot really go from one idea to the next (which is the main goal of a Mindmap). A Mindmap on the other hand, allows you to go from one idea to the next, but since it is not thought of as a presentation, it is hard to predetermine certain actions like zooming in and out. Prezi, by allowing you to jump from one idea to the next and by allowing you to preprogram zooms, offers you the best of both worlds.
Since Prezi presentations are built on a map format, all the information you wish to share is on the same “slide”. You can therefore “jump” from one idea to the next without having to lose time trying to figure out on which slide that idea was. This means that you can respond quickly to the students’ interests and questions. That responsiveness and the easy to add images and videos (you only need to save them from You Tube), win me over.
This hungarian software is winning over people of all interests and of all walks of life. Even Power Point and Forbes are enthralled by it. Like any tool, it offers great promess which is why many teachers have adopted it for their classes. As long as I am concerned, adopting Prezi in class makes perfect sense. It is only logical to use a tool that works like the minds of the people that we teach. My mind sure does not work in a linear manner, just ask my wife! For their part, learners are very positive about this software and for good reasons. They enjoy the esthetic of the presentations that can be lively and colorful and learners appreciate the fact that it is easy to link an image or a video to a concept that has just been explained.
All these things make me very excited about the possibilities that Prezi offers and I am beginning to think of ways I could use it in a classroom. At least in my case, it will not be death by PowerPoint, but rather, death to PowerPoint.