Type: Website/App/Computer Program
Capabilities: Desktop (Windows, Mac), Web Browsers, iOS, Android (Google Play)
Recommended Grades: 6-12+
Description: Create fun, interactive, and sharable presentations online
Prezi allows you to fully customize your presentations to best fit your needs. You can choose from some of their pre-made templates or you can start from scratch and build your own template as you go. You can choose your own background and ‘bubble’ types and place them in any order/path you would like. Most if not all of the same options available in PowerPoint or other presentation programs are available through Prezi, including imbedding photos and videos. There are additional options as well such as adding a voice recording to each ‘bubble’. All customizing options are still available when using premade templates or presentations.
Search, Import, and Edit Premade Content
Not all presentations have to be built from scratch! Prezi has a large, searchable library of public presentations others have made. By searching the topic you want to make a presentation about, you can access other presentations that have already been made about your topic. Once you find a premade presentation, you are even able to copy it to your own library and edit the presentation to best fit your needs. But you are not limited to using Prezi. The site also gives you the ability to import PowerPoint presentations from your device and automatically makes each slide and editable bubble. You are also able to import other files from your device, but these cannot be edited on the site.
Strong Partner App
For many websites with accompanying mobile applications, the apps are very limited. This is not the case for Prezi. Though slightly more simple, the Prezi app has almost all of the same functions as the website. In fact, some might prefer the more straightforward mobile format when creating their presentations. The app syncs with your online account in order to save the presentations you make on the go and allow you to present from your mobile device. Access to premade content is more limited, but this does not hinder your ability to share or create an affective presentation.
Everything is public (unless you pay)
When using the free version of the site, all of the presentations you make are stored in the site’s public library. This means that anyone can look up, view, and use the materials you create. With internet safety and security being major concerns for schools stepping into the digital age, this can pose a major problem. It is for this reason that I have recommended this site only be used for older students who are more aware of internet safety guidelines. While the sharable aspect of this site can be useful, it also means students have a way to search for presentations that were already made about their topic that they can then manipulate to look like their own work. Where we don’t like to assume students will cheat, doing so is easier on this site and should be kept in mind.
What FUTD Recommends
Do not use for projects about the students: This may be obvious but is worth mentioning anyway. Since everything you make on the free version of the site is public, avoid legal and/or safety issues by avoiding projects where the students are asked to provide any information about themselves whatsoever. Students should be discouraged from using personal images in their Prezis and no personal information should be included. If you would like to use images of the school or students in your Prezi, be aware that you must ask for clearance from the school/parents as this is a public site.
Monitor younger students closely: I did not recommend this site be used by elementary students, but it is a fun and functional tool that elementary students would enjoy. The content on the site is not organized by age or monitored for what might be considered explicit or mature content for that age group. Since this content is so easy to access, step by step instruction and monitoring is strongly recommended. Additionally, younger students are generally not as aware/sensitive to what information and media would be unsafe to put in their slides. Where this could be a good lesson in internet safety and likely does not pose a huge problem, it is another reason why students should be closely monitored.
Use the app if possible: Prezi’s accompanying app is a strong adaptation of the website and can save you a lot of headaches. More importantly, it makes it harder for students to access material from Prezi’s library. This not only makes it safer for elementary students to use, it also diminishes cheating concerns.
Subscription payment structure
Prezi has two levels beyond the free version you can access for a monthly/yearly fee. The first level gives you (among other things) 4 GB of private storage and with it, the ability to control the privacy settings for your presentations. The second level does the same but gives you unlimited storage and allows you to use an offline version of the site on the computer. The price of each level is fairly reasonable however, it is a recurring expense that can quickly stack up as more and more student accounts are created. The price is recurring even if the goal is merely to download and use the offline version of the program. The privacy option the upgraded version provides is extremely valuable however, careful consideration should be given as to whether the upgraded options are worth the price.
What FUTD Recommends
Explore the “Team” option: On the upgrade page, there is a third upgrade option called “Teams”. If Prezi is going to be used in a school environment and multiple licenses are required, this is the best option. Team licenses are at the pro (second) level but come with additional advantages such as a central dashboard to monitor all accounts as well as special training and support. The price of these licenses is the same as pro level until the number of licenses exceeds 21 and is paid on an annual basis. When signing up for these licenses, there is also an option to speak with a company representative and it is likely a deal can be made for multiple school licenses. Even if the school as an entirety will not purchase licenses, it is beneficial to team up with other members or your department or teaching team and pursue the “Team” license. Overall, the “Team” option gives you a bigger bang for your buck.
Use one license for the class: The second level upgrade gives you unlimited private storage data and allows you to use the offline program for the site. Since you are not limited in the amount of presentations you can create and you have an option to save to a computer drive, students can log on to a set number of licensed accounts to create their presentations. This option should only be considered if Prezi is going to be used in an individual classroom or for a smaller group of students. It is also something to keep in mind when considering what the school/department can afford to spend and how they would like to use the program.
((Disclaimer: FUTD is not associated with Prezi or its creators and does not benefit from the use/sale of this program or application in any way))