I have a confession to make: I have never learned how to use PowerPoint. When I started giving presentations a number of years ago, I opted to buy my own MacBook and learn Keynote, Apple’s answer to PowerPoint, instead. With Keynote I could save files to .ppt or .pdf versions as necessary, but the real power is seeing a presentation in Keynote itself. I find it easier to use than PowerPoint, with a nicer end result. It has served me quite well until now.
Enter Prezi. Prezi is a very different type of presentation software. To begin with, it is based “in the cloud” (on the Internet, something we have explored to some extent here on Slaw). The real difference, though, is that it is not at all linear. It is more like a mind map, allowing one to group ideas together, and explore a number of ideas springing from each idea or concept. For presentation purposes, one can either create a “path” through the content and run through it in a somewhat linear fashion, or move around and zoom in and out to jump to ideas that are not in the linear path. It is verging on 3-D presentation software. It also allows for a fair bit of creativity.
Now, this is probably not something you will use in most business presentations. But it certainly livens up a talk, and is about as far from the dull reading-bullet-points-from-the-screen as you can get. On Friday, for example, I had the privilege of speaking at COLAL, the Conference of Ontario Law Associations’ Libraries, organized by LibraryCo. I decided to take a chance and try out Prezi for the first time. My very first effort is below, and I was quite pleased with the results.
To view, I suggest clicking on the bar at the bottom until you see “more” on the bottom right, click on “more” and select “full screen”. Then you can either page through clicking on the forward arrow, or click on “more” again and select “autoplay” to take you through the path I took in my presentation. Unfortunately there is no sound here, so you do not get my full commentary, but you’ll get the idea I’m sure. Once you have tried it, you too can move around the screen and zoom in and out to see other content I have included.