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Social Learning and Emerging Technology

I’ve been exploring different technologies for presentations. I’ve tried PersonalBrain - I like the tool for brainstorming and personal information management. I haven’t found it as useful for presentations. More recently, I’ve been looking at Prezi. It’s an interesting tool that does away with the slide focus of PowerPoint. And adds zooming eye candy. Here’s a presentation I delivered to OPSOA today: Social Learning and Emerging Technologies. Great tool – but I think that’s due to it being new. Once everyone is experimenting with Prezi, it will likely be just as annoying PowerPoint.


  1. Thomas wrote:

    Thanks for the hint to Prezi – looks like a great tool!

    Friday, April 24, 2009 at 1:15 am | Permalink
  2. Laura wrote:

    I was trying out Prezi, but just found it too hard to use, so I’ve resorted to Keynote. It’s funny that people still *want* presentations instead of more active forms of engagement. I’d much rather facilitate a conversation than talk at people. I guess that’s difficult with a couple hundred people in the room.

    Friday, April 24, 2009 at 4:13 am | Permalink
  3. gsiemens wrote:

    Hi Laura – you’re right – people do prefer presentations. I did a session on LearnTrends this week…and a participant left the session because I wasn’t using powerpoint. I was conversing rather than presenting. She stated later that she was a visual learner who needed images. The conversation we were trying to have was not an approach she appreciated.

    btw – in an upcoming talk, I’ve decided to abandon all visuals/ppt. I’ll simply sit on a stool and try and communicate through stories/metaphors. I may well bomb.

    Friday, April 24, 2009 at 4:50 am | Permalink
  4. Maryanne Burgos wrote:

    I get frustrated when I view SlideShare presentations online after they have been used in a presentation because there is no audio. Like most good presenters, the creators of the SlideShare/PowerPoint/GoogleDocs presentation has only put an outline there. Isn’t there some tool for creating presentations plus audio so that they could be used for distance learning?

    Friday, April 24, 2009 at 5:50 am | Permalink
  5. Laura wrote:

    I guess some combination could work, trying to meet everyone’s needs. There could be visuals that are meant both to convey some information and to serve as conversation starters.

    Friday, April 24, 2009 at 6:48 am | Permalink
  6. Tim Hawes wrote:

    I was presenting at OPSOA as well, a couple of hours after you, and at the end of my session, one of the Superintendents asked me “were you just using Prezi?” – I wasn’t – just a powerpoint of all images, no text, but it was interesting that she perceived my PPT as being “different” from usual powerpoint’s and that she had connect that to your Prezi show…

    Friday, April 24, 2009 at 8:28 am | Permalink
  7. Alan Levine wrote:

    Tools, tools, tools we focus on the tools. I clever, well designed PowerPoint (or even use of an overhead projector?) might be better than a bad prezi.

    We also tend to forget how wide a range of “viewing” styles there are out there, as your anecdote alludes- some people may tune in better with words, other with images, others with your voice. Yet, we hold an illusion that one “great” presentation will work for everyone?

    Also, IMHO the presentation file is not the presentation.

    Thank for your prezi example, though, I added it as an example for my entry on prezi in 50 Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story (in my edge case world, a presentation should have a story arc).

    I agree the freshness of the prezi style is intriguing; yet the method of using it is far from emerging. On its own, the swooping, zooming, etc gets a bit tiring and may get as bad as flying PPT bullets, and what we are missing of course is your voice. After doing my first prezi, I agree that the interface is an uphill battle to learn, but not impossible. It would seem appropriate for presentations where a pulled back wide view is helpful before zooming in to the details (architecture plans, an art mural, visual facilitation notes, study of an ancient city).

    I salute your desire for experimentation, we need more!

    Friday, April 24, 2009 at 8:50 am | Permalink
  8. Natalie wrote:

    Thanks for sharing your presentation developed using Prezi.
    Interesting that you commented about the participant who left during your talk on the LearnTrends event. I was logged on to the session and have been reflecting on this. I quite liked that you didn’t have powerpoint slides, it was quite refreshing and forced you to listen. We do live in a visual age but radio is still popular as are audio books and podcasts. I think we need a variety of approaches to presenting.
    All the best with your upcoming talk without visual aids.

    Friday, April 24, 2009 at 9:18 am | Permalink
  9. No flashy tool will ever replace a great speaker. But neverhteless, when you need visuals, I like Prezi. Unlike the linear format Keynote or PPT, you can zoom out in Prezi anytime you like to give the context for your discussion. And that’s new. I used this for a presentation to the Canadian Assoc. of Independent Schools last week: CAIS Assistant Head’s Conference. It won’t make sens without the voice over, but you get the idea.

    Monday, April 27, 2009 at 7:37 am | Permalink

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