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Prezi is a zoomy, whooshy new-ish presentation tool.  Instead of the Powerpoint-style linear slide-by-slide  structure, which dates back to the days of physical slides, Prezi presentations show parts of a  large canvas in a completely non-linear way. (Interesting how often new tech looks like the old until the possiblities of the new are realised.  When I first saw Prezi, I was reminded of the way early printed books were designed like manuscripts, until the potential of the new tech was grasped.  Not saying Prezi is quite up there with the arrival of printing, but I was impressed by it).

I’ve found Prezi quite tricky to learn, and think I have a long way to go, but it has great potential.  I’m thinking of using it for a virtual gallery of University characters, if my skills can match my vision.  However, I’m not going to stop using Powerpoint.  Sometimes a presentation falls naturally into a logical slide progression.  Sometimes I need something simple for when I am presenting at short notice.  Sometimes I don’t want the audience to be distracted by the new toy.  And there are questions about accessibility to which I haven’t found answers, a concern if embedding presentations on the web.

Prezi is not a solution to Death by Powerpoint.  People create boring presentations because they haven’t thought about the audience and the outcome properly; Powerpoint is perfect if you want to create an overwhelmingly wordy, dull and unreadable slideshow, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  I’ve seen many brilliant presentations using Powerpoint.

Wordy Powerpoint

Glad I wasn't at this event! (photo from flickr, by Innovation Journalism, under CC attribution licence)

It would be very easy for a poor presenter to create a horrible presentation with Prezi.  Instead of the illegible overload of jargon being read out, we will face Nausea by Prezi, motion sickness from inappropriate lurches and zooms around the canvas, too many fonts, too much going on …

If you want to give Prezi a try, the Prezi website is very helpful.  Or check out this great simple intro from The Wikiman, which helped me to get started, lots of good advice.

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