The EdTech Guide to SXSWedu

As thousands descend upon Austin for the annual SXSW conference and festival, we wanted to share an awesome guide to some of the sessions at SXSWedu that we're most looking forward to. You can check out the prezi below, as well as a quick list for reference: 

ConnectED & Future-Ready Schools

Wednesday, March 11 
1:30PM - 2:30PM 
Hilton Austin Downtown Salon A 
500 East 4th Street

- See more at:

LAUNCHedu Competition Lightning Round

Tuesday, March 10 
10:30AM - 12:30PM 
Hilton Austin Downtown Salon H 
500 East 4th Street

- See more at:

LAUNCHedu Competition Showdown Round

Wednesday, March 11 
1:30PM - 2:30PM 
Hilton Austin Downtown Salon H 
500 East 4th Street

- See more at:

Designing Better Online Learning Experiences

Tuesday, March 10 
9:00AM - 11:00AM 
Hilton Austin Downtown Room 408 
500 East 4th Street

- See more at:

Mobile Video Storytelling Lab

Tuesday, March 10 
9:30AM - 11:30AM 
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Theater 2 
320 East 6th Street

- See more at:

Design Challenges to Develop 21st Century Skills

Tuesday, March 10 
2:00PM - 4:00PM 
Hilton Austin Downtown Room 412 
500 East 4th Street

- See more at:

Visualizing Educational Data: Do's and Don’ts

Thursday, March 12 
9:00AM - 10:00AM 
Hilton Austin Downtown Salon G 
500 East 4th Street

- See more at:

Prezi Ambassadors: Where are They Now?

Our Prezi Ambassadors from around the world have met heads of state, run their own workshops, and created grassroots marketing campaigns. It's an experience you'll never forget—the kind employers are clamoring for. We caught up with several of our past Ambassadors to see what they loved most about their experience, and how the skills they learned from our Program have helped them get where they are now. Naturally we're so impressed.

What is your current job? 

Judit Klein: I run my own company for software development and design work, including designing prezis, which there is increasing interest and demand for. Through this, I also work as a contractor for Prezi with the evangelism team and the sales team.

Harsh Banwait: I work as an Account Manager for Photon Infotech, a technology consulting firm and manage our client relationships with Fortune 500 customers.

Davide Trimarchi: I work as a Visual Designer on the amazing Prezi Design Team. My role is to create beautiful and clear prezis for profit and non-profit organizations which help us share and spread our product around the world.

Andrew Washuta: In my current role, I'm a graphic designer at UnitedHealth Group, a fortune 14 company. I design everything all the way from advertisements, billboards, branding projects, and infographics, to motion graphics and animation. We have a few commercials that have released on national television recently!

Ben Holm: I work in the learn & support team here at Prezi as a senior support specialist.

Tai Tran: Since my ambassador days, I have interned for two other tech companies: Samsung Electronics and Flextronics. At UC Berkeley, I am currently teaching a 40-student course on social media marketing and networking

How did your experience as a Prezi Ambassador help prepare you for your current job?

DT: Well, I'm a Prezi employee now! Being an Ambassador helped me in getting to know better both the product and the company I work for. Moreover, it helped me to improve my communication and planning skills.

JK: Having to regularly design and create new presentations as part of the ambassador program, pushed my design skills, both generally and specifically in using Prezi. I love working with clients to design their presentations as it really forces you to think differently about how you can communicate ideas in a different way.

I give a lot of conference presentations and I definitely feel that Prezi has made me a better and more confident presenter with more engaged audience.

HB: My current job requires me to walk up to a lot of new people on a day to day basis and introduce myself as well as my company. Being a Prezi ambassador and representing Prezi on my campus gave me the required confidence to be successful in my current role.

What was your favorite part of your experience as a Prezi Ambassador?

TT: My most favorite of the experience was the autonomy and trust that were given on day one. I was able to initiate my own year-long action plan to evangelize Prezi at UC Berkeley. This involved developing a robust social media and product marketing strategy from ground up. This ultimately resulted in the acquisition of over 2,000 new Prezi users at UC Berkeley by the end of my ambassadorship.

AW: My favorite part of the experience was working with a product I love, as well as connecting and interacting with innovative students like myself from around the world, that I still keep in touch with to this day.

HB: My favorite part from my experience as an ambassador was the amount of ownership I had on my marketing plan. I received a lot of training and support from the Prezi staff, but I was still allowed to be creative and execute my plan according to what I thought was the best for my campus.

Did being a Prezi Ambassador help you get hired in your current role? If so, how?

DT: As I focused a lot during my Ambassadorship in creating cool prezis, the marketing team at Prezi noticed me, liked my storytelling and graphic design capabilities, and proposed me to join Prezi, first as a summer intern, and then as a full-time employee.

HB: Absolutely. We do our corporate pitch using Prezi and hence its a very important tool for our Sales and Account Management team. I even showcased some of my work as an ambassador during my interviews and since I have the job now, I guess it worked!

AW: Yes, I would say that it influenced where and what positions I looked for during my job search. I knew I wanted to do some sort of design, and I was really impacted by presentation design specifically. I owe a lot to Prezi and the connections I've developed from this experience and used those to my advantage while looking for work.

What advice would you give to a new Prezi Ambassador?

JK: Step outside your comfort zone! It's a great opportunity to learn new skills - run a workshop, hand out pamphlets/swag at campus events, start social media pages! What works well at one campus, may not work as well at another campus so experiment and try different things.

AW: The best advice I can give to a new Ambassador is to come with a plan, and know how you're going to execute. It's really important to understand what your goal is to achieve at your school, i.e. Expand user base or teach students how to use the full power of Prezi. Additionally, make sure to get out there with some guerrilla marketing and really let students know of your presence.

TT: Come in with an open mind and be ready to learn A LOT. The program is flexible enough for you to explore areas that you want to learn and develop. This ranges from public speaking to social media and product marketing. Of course, always HAVE FUN in the process!

BH: Remember to network. You don't need to be alone. If you find the right people at your campus to talk to, it will help spreading the word about Prezi.

Parting Thoughts?

AW: Stay humble and hungry. Dreams come true, with hard work and the right connections. Let your Prezi Ambassadorship be that foundation.

JK: Paint a Prezi logo on your face - it will get people talking to you.

HB: Never be afraid to reach out to other ambassadors with any blockers you're facing on your campus. They may have gone through the same situation you're in right now and can provide some very valuable insight.

Think you're ready to join the evolution? 

Apply to be a Prezi Ambassador!

Our Canvas my Campus Winners are Here to Make a Change

Our 2014 Canvas my Campus winning team raised more than $1000.00 in two weeks with a campaign on Tilt for their entry to make flyers obsolete, and build a mobile app solution for millennials to easily find social events and organizations on their campus at Iowa State University, and beyond.

Team Lead, DeQuan Burnside said he felt, “utterly disconnected,” when he arrived at college. “With over 34,000 students at Iowa State and numerous opportunities to get involved, I felt a need to connect to certain organizations, [and] I realized that I must not be the only one who feels this way.”

So he and his friend Mac got together and created the pitch for their app: Move.

Check out the prezi to learn more:

Not to be outdone, our Staff Favorite winner from Nanyang Technological University pitched his dream of equipping every rural Indian girl with affordable and hygienic means of handling their menstrual needs, so they can attend school. Team Lead, Andrew Lin said, “It makes me incredibly happy to know that because of something so simple which we are trying to provide, girls can now receive education and their lives would forever be changed.”

Check out the prezi to learn more:

Both winners will be headed to San Francisco later this spring to present their prezi pitches at a meet up with friends of Prezi and Tilt, our contest partner. We can’t wait to see their progress as they continue to raise awareness about social issues--fun and cultural! 

8 FREE Reusable EDU Designs for Fall

The EDU Team is at it again! We've got another set of eight never-before-seen reusable designs, created just in time for fall lesson plans! Whether you’re working on a presentation for an upcoming lecture or a lesson plan in STEM, these reusable designs will help you get started.

To use one of these reusable designs for your lesson or class project, simply click the image to access the links. Create a copy of the prezi from its landing page, and begin adding your own content. 

Happy Zooming! 


Your Prezi EDU Team

Prezi Educators Society Guest Column: Engage Your Remote Learners

Use the Prezi canvas and animation to engage learners. Then…rinse and repeat.

You value the content you have to share and want each online student’s full attention. Remember one thing: Your competition is fierce.

As a student, have you ever been sucked into a presentation? Have you ever been so caught up in images, video and the story an educator was sharing that you lost track of time? And when you think back to that presentation – no matter how long ago it was – can you still remember two or three of the key points?

Delivering a message with the right tool allows you to give the gift of learning to your students…just like the teacher you were just thinking of shared their content with you.

Your Competition

In a residential classroom most students either listen or have the decency to pretend to listen. When a presenter can see you and your level of engagement, the average person is often incentivized to pay attention. (If for no other reason than it’s simply polite.) When they receive a text or tweet, the student in a traditional classroom is motivated at minimum by social norms to ignore the interruption.

The online student doesn’t have the same motivations. In fact, the anonymity that comes with the convenience of online learning brings with it the temptation to multi-task. Remote learners can easily believe that reading a text message, checking Facebook, or surfing the internet during a class is a victimless crime. They aren’t distracting other students. The teacher can’t be offended because she couldn’t possibly know. What’s the harm?  

Your Audience

Did the previous paragraphs leave you feeling defeated? Are you thinking that the absence of shared space leaves you with an insurmountable obstacle? Don’t give up. Let’s look at what gets a student’s attention.

Relevant content. A creative presentation of useless content won’t keep anyone’s attention. So as much as I’d like to say the right platform and top-notch delivery can make any lesson engaging, it can’t. Make sure your message is meaningful and written at the appropriate level.

Clarity. One of the first things I teach every student in my Prezi creation classroom is to design with the big picture in mind (otherwise known as the Prezi canvas) and give your students 3 things to think about:

  • Ask yourself this question: “What do I want my students to learn, feel and question by the end of my presentation?” From that answer, consider metaphors and images that might support your goal (such as a diving board and pool to encourage student to “take the plunge” and try something new or a treasure map to encourage exploration).
  • Stick to three main concepts. If you think you have 12 ideas to share, try to group them into three categories. It will be easier for your students to review three chunks of information and you’ll be able to reinforce the content through online platforms and follow up materials if you have a manageable number to work with.
  • Apply color, images and movement to your lesson plan to reinforce key elements. I have seen templates and transitions with 90 degree spins cause students to literally gasp. It’s fun for the students…and the presenters! Don’t miss the opportunity, but only rotate when there’s a purpose.

Activity on Screen. Use the right amount of movement at the right times to engage and re-engage your students. A great lesson will lead students to think and generate new ideas. This may cause them to wander from your content; animation on screen will bring them back.

  • Move in and out of the three concepts you decided to reinforce. This will continually remind your learner of the big picture.
  • When you introduce a concept and then explore it more deeply, dive into the text and images on the screen to emphasize your deeper look at the content. Not only is this interesting to watch, it reminds the student that they are exploring concepts on multiple levels.

360° Reinforcement

With remote and traditional students alike, you have an opportunity to introduce concepts before the lesson and reinforce learning after through online tools and social media sites. Depending on the resources you have access to, you have the opportunity to create videos, facilitate discussions and request student contributions to enhance the lesson.

Helping remote learners choose you over the distractions that come with their everyday life is within your control. You can lament the fact that attention spans are decreasing at the same time distractions are increasing. You can bemoan the challenges teachers have in online classrooms.

Or…you can choose to maximize your presentation by learning how to use the tools you already have available to capture and keep the attention of your audience.


About the Author: Amy Jauman is a speaker, professor, and social media strategist with a masters degree in experiential education and doctorate in organization development. She bills herself as “an educator for the business environment” and focuses on using social media and online resources to make information meaningful to adult learners. You can follow her on Twitter and Pinterest or like her Facebook page for more information about the ever-evolving opportunities in online learning.

Prezi Educators Society Guest Column: The Art of Storytelling with Prezi

As a history teacher, I look for creative ways to communicate stories of people and places. Many mediums tell these narratives such as memoirs, film, art, and music, which add voice and depth to students’ understanding of the past and present.  In the past couple of years, I have discovered that Prezi is a tool that not only allows me to curate many of these sources into one place, but also adds its own artistic dimension to the art of storytelling in history and the humanities.


Three years ago, I worked with a Jordanian teacher, Ms. Noor, and her class over Twitter, to compare perspectives on the Middle East and the United States. I was able to sum this experience up visually through a Prezi, “What is the Middle East?”, which combines word clouds, animations, and representative zooms.  The goal of this exercise was to develop perspective and empathy, as well as a broader understanding of how identity, culture, and environment influence each other.  Questions in the Prezi allow for pauses and reflection and the Prezi flips around to represent “thinking another way.”  The assignment was intended to give students and others a glimpse inside the mind of “the other” and the Prezi is designed to take us on a tour of that complex mental process.

The curriculum overview may not seem the most enticing of stories.  Enter Prezi.  Students and parents then have a very clear (and hopefully exciting) vision of the trajectory of the course. I have used Prezi to tell the story of history courses I teach and even to present our department elective choices to students. In a simple Prezi for Human Geography, just three zooms predicts how we will study the narrative of peoples’ identity, their relationship with each other, and the environment in which they live.  Another course Prezi, for Global Issues: Connected World, visualizes the various unit themes, resources, and activities students will engage in. In this global course, students begin with the concept of connected-ness and loop back to that idea by the end, demonstrating how they are a globally connected citizen. The goal of these prezis is to set up learning expectations and create motivation for learning.  

When teaching non-fiction literature:

Prezi allows me to help students visualize the text, which is also an essential, researched strategy  for reading effectively and efficiently.   Not only can students easily identify historic and cultural references through the prezis, but they can use the cloud-based service for future reference. One example is a Prezi I made for The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kamkwambe, which gives students additional context and resources for this book about energy, environment, and poverty in Malawi.  The relative locations of Malawi, Lilongwe, and Dowa can be pointed out more easy with the transitions and zooms in Prezi and images of the culture (i.e. Gule Wamkulu and Billy Kaunda) surround these locations and come to life.  Another prezi, for Steve Inskeep’s book Instant City, visualizes elements of Karachi, Pakistan and the urbanized history and life of its people.  Again, the prezi is designed to show students the story of Karachi and what to expect— growth of a city.  Each step in the prezi visualizes content and focuses students, sometimes through textual cues, on elements of the story to aid in their understanding of Inskeep’s narrative.

Telling the story of culture: 

In my Human Geography course, students were given definitions of folk and popular culture and were then asked to watch a related prezi.  The prezi is organized by categories and designed to be artistically appealing to the viewer; in the same way that culture is a complicated woven fabric, the Prezi bobs and weaves and pushes students to debate what is and is not folk vs. popular culture— and why.  In other prezis, I give students the background on major world religions such as Judaism and Hinduism. In the Judaism prezi, I attempt to tell the basic story of the religion through images, maps, and video. In one frame, I want to take students into a synagogue and can simulate this using a combination of zoom and video.  I also do this in the Hinduism prezi, with photos of the Pittsburgh Hindu-Jain temple that I took myself.  Additionally, in the Hinduism prezi, I attempt to represent Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva as part of Brahman by making them— literally— part of the word Brahman.  While these things can be done in a standalone slide, the zoom-effect gives viewers the feeling of entering the presentation and they are better able to internalize the content.

Visualization is not only a valuable component of successful literacy, it is also an inherently natural part of our students’ world.  Through Prezi, I am able to capture the visual and tie it to the content and text in intricate ways that invite students to read, think, and discuss more.  The medium itself allows me to be creative and to deliver content from multiple mediums in ways that communicate subtly— through a tilt, a zoom, a fade, or merely a word.  My goal is to create something of a piece of art in itself; it should draw the observer in and generate discussion. I venture to say that a prezi should deliberately embed natural pauses for audience reflection, make use of multiple mediums, and incorporate nuances of the zoom and pan to communicate ideas with subtlety.  Perhaps one might say my prezis are not quite art--like Duchamp’s Fountain, or Warhol’s pop art—which means, perhaps they are. Give it a shot; they say there’s an artist in us all.  

About the Author: Michael-Ann Cerniglia is a Senior School History teacher at Sewickley Academy, in Pennsylvania. She is a member of our Prezi Educators Society.

8 FREE Reusable EDU Prezi Designs for Back to School

Did you love the last batch of Prezi templates? Then you’ll be thrilled to know that we have a surprise for you: eight never-before-seen reusable designs, created just in time for 'back to school'! Whether you’re working on a presentation for an upcoming lecture or a lesson plan in STEM, these reusable designs will help you get started.

To use one of these reusable designs, to give your presentation a unique look, simply click the image to create a copy of the prezi and begin adding your own content. 

Happy Zooming! 


Your Prezi EDU Team

#LeadersWanted: Find Your Way as a Prezi Ambassador

From Peru to New York, passionate Ambassadors in 32 countries work every single day promoting Prezi on their campuses. What are they doing? Showing other students why using Prezi makes sense. It’s not enough, to just study hard, you need to know how to summarize and share your ideas, how to keep everything simple, eye-catching, and keep others’ attention while you are presenting.

Benjamin Holm was the first Prezi Ambassador of Finland. He likes presenting, is passionate about new challenges, is really into technology, and also a bit of design. He became a Prezi Ambassador a year ago—a title that afforded him with tons of opportunities. “I wasn’t exactly sure what it would lead to, but I was sure I could benefit from the experience in my future.”

Photo ©Andréa Högberg

Photo ©Andréa Högberg

He shortly realized: he needed to find his own individual way to be successful in “prezifying” his campus: “Students can be really lazy and won’t attend stuff outside their already busy schedule.” After he faced that fact, he knew what to do: “… I started networking with professors [and] teachers to implement Prezi and Prezi workshops in their daily life. But you can be more creative, it’s all really up to you in the end.”

At that time he was a student who had already learned to craft a marketing plan, and he learned how to create stories, and build up a network—all skills that would be helpful to him in the future. “The days are really flexible, and in the end it’s up to you what you make out of them. Arranging workshops and taking part in events is so great! My favorite task was probably networking. I didn’t meet only great students and university staff, but also public speakers and big companies in Finland through networking.”

Working on a bigger purpose, like helping others to share their stories visually is so meaningful, and the feedback always speaks for itself: “Feedback [is] great from every direction!” he says. “The students I did workshops for were amazed by the opportunities of Prezi as a presentation tool, the professors were happy to see something fresh, like Prezi being promoted on campus.”

Ben was so successful as an Ambassador that Prezi hired him as a full time employee in the Budapest office once his Ambassadorship was completed. You can check out some of Ben’s prezis here.

Prezi is currently accepting applications for the 2014-15 school year. Apply here:


About the Guest Author: My name is Nora Oravecz, I am hungarian based motivational blogger, public speaker, best selling author of 4 books. I am passionate about stories, which can change the way people are thinking about life. I love watching TED videos, Oprah's interviews, and interesting documentaries about extraordinary lives. Achieving things that are labeled impossible is my hobby - and helping others to achieve their dreams is the other one. In Hungary every year I make at least 2O of my followers' dreams come true and blog about it.

Guest Post: Presentation advice for students

Rachel Smith is a higher education blogger at GSM London. You can read more of her blog posts on the GSM Student News blog. In this guest post, she offers some helpful hints and tips for students looking to hone their presentation skills and rid the classroom butterflies.

Presenting as a student is never an easy task. From the subject matter itself to an audience of intimidating peers, it is no wonder that so many university students tend to dread the moment when their degree course requires a presentation element. Yet it doesn’t have to be the dreaded nightmare that so many seem to think that it is. With the right software and preparation, presentations can offer the chance to better explain yourself and your points, and best show your lecturers what you are capable of academically.

Learning from the experts

Much like you wouldn’t submit an essay without having first done your research into various areas of the subject matter using multiple sources, you shouldn’t embark on creating and giving a presentation without having first researched various methods and styles. While of course researching the subject of your presentation and putting in the work beforehand is important, it also makes sense to research how best to give a presentation.

Professional speakers and those in public eye do not get to such a level of professionalism by chance, they have had practice and the help of other professionals in the field, but there is no reason that you cannot do the same. Such institutions as The UK Speechwriters’ Guild and dedicated programs like the BBC’s The Speaker offer a great starting point to improve your technique, and therefore your confidence, when giving a speech or presentation.

The UK Speechwriters’ Guild is more specifically for those who wish to follow a career in speechwriting, but their conferences can offer the chance to learn valuable techniques and tips from those who make a living from giving presentations. Similarly, the BBC’s The Speaker, that aired 2009, offers some great advice. Even though it’s aimed at younger students between the ages of 14 and 18 years old, the takeaways are a reminder of the basics and are useful for anyone. Public speaking is scary, but the resources found on the program's pages could prove invaluable to those looking to perfect their techniques and make the whole process significantly less scary.


Prezi in the classroom

Alongside perfecting public speaking, the creation of the presentation itself is equally important. Thankfully Prezi software is a great help here and can offer a method in which to beautifully display your ideas and get your point across to your audience – both lecturers and student peers.

Lecturers and students alike use Prezi to either give a lecture or class presentation, a situation that requires something that is both engaging and crystal clear to understand. Being able to create engaging and interesting presentations makes Prezi a hugely valuable tool. So long as the ideas and information of your presentation is well-researched and thought out, Prezi can convey them in a way that makes them immediately understandable to a large audience.

Many students and lecturers find that their information often has to be split between slides as typical presentation software restricts the content you are able to create – one of Prezi’s advantages is that it allows you to create free-flowing presentations that help your audience stay on track without awkward slide breaks.

Group work and skills for future employment

The ability to collaborate on Prezi projects in groups is another useful feature, where students working on a group presentation can collaborate in real time in the classroom or at home, which is where the cloud-based technology really comes into play.

Being able to access Prezi anywhere and anyway is hugely useful for our university students, who often find themselves having to manage several projects at once. Being able to access your group or individual presentation from any computer or tablet can enable you to work better in a group, which any student will know can be testing at the best of times when your grades are reliant on the hard work of others. At GSM London we offer career-focused degrees, which is why we know that presentations combined with group work are a great way for students to hone the skills they are likely to need after graduation.

Similarly, the Powerpoint Import feature can help bring existing content from either your own previous work or that of your group together in one seamless presentation that is sure to give you the grades and, hopefully, the graduate job offers you deserve!

You can read more about how to give the perfect presentation as a student in this article featuring Prezi and read more blog posts from Rachel on her Google+ Profile.

Prezi Educators Society Guest Column: Engaging Students During the Summer

Summer classes can be tough places to engage students, and even tougher online.

Students have so many other things to be doing and even more distractions than during the traditional school year. My job was to help them make their class a top priority.  Prezi helped me engage students in ways that surprised even them.

This summer, I taught Media & Society, an undergraduate general education course that serves as an introduction to our Communication department for majors and improves media literacy for all students.

We get to do fun things like watch Bollywood movies and analyze Old Spice commercials, but we also introduce terms such as media ubiquity and homophily.

The Prezi lectures for this class were first developed when I began teaching Media & Society as a face-to-face course, so Prezi was integral in the course development. I was still figuring out how to best use the technology and was able to make them a bit more coherent over time.

From that foundation, I became very conscious how information flowed. Students online are even more visually attuned than students in a standard classroom.  The material is up close and personal. I fine-tuned how images looked from all levels of zoom.

Beyond just the visual, students still needed the verbal explanation I give in the classroom. However, technology access in rural areas involves limited bandwidth. Students obviously have to have decent Internet access to take an online course, and the course already includes a high volume of YouTube clips, images, and links. But, I chose not to add audio lectures to prevent uploading problems in remote parts of the state. Instead of audio, I added short text blocks in between images throughout the Prezi, preferably no longer than three sentences each. More frequent, shorter text blocks worked much better than long passages.

Eastern Kentucky University uses Blackboard as the base for online courses. I divided my six-week course into six units, each with a link to a Prezi “lecture,” a Discussion Board, and a unit test. The student’s interactivity with Prezi led to more lively Discussion Boards, and I believe, more student engagement. 

This summer, all students who started the course, finished it. I follow an achievement model of grading rather than a bell curve, meaning students have to reach high benchmarks to earn an A rather than earning grades based on the performance of their peers. Half my class earned As, and none failed.

Here’s what my students had to say: 

“I've had teachers that just use PowerPoint which is so boring compared to Prezi. I like having visuals, videos, and audio examples while I'm shuffling through the slides.”
“I want to extend my thanks for all the work you put into making this a very engaging and enjoyable class. I’m actually a little disappointed it is over already.”
“I liked using Prezi because it is easier to engage in and retain the material. Prezi breaks the information down into different sections. Seeing all information in a PowerPoint can be overwhelming and hard to remember. All the mass information when you feel like you are just reading for a long time. Prezi being interactive helps you be more interested in the information and gives you a better overall view for everything you need to learn.”


Ginny Whitehouse is an associate professor of Journalism at Eastern Kentucky University and a Cases and Commentaries editor for the Journal of Media Ethics. She teaches and researches in the fields of social media ethics and online privacy. If you want to see more on how she uses Prezi, you can check out her profile: You’ll find her summer online course prezis and prezis for her face-to-face class. 

Five Ways to Present with Confidence

Whether a student or a professor, your ability to engage your audience is crucial. It may determine your grade, what your end of semester evaluations look like, or whether or not your startup, well…starts.

Engaging your audience begins before you speak, and then transitions to the opening of your presentation. Your opening often determines just how much of your presentation the audience will “tune in” for.  

If the first impression the audience has is “B-O-R-I-N-G” there is little chance of the presentation being a success.  

Other students are not your competition, and it's not other professors. It is smartphones, social media, websites, and every other distraction out there.   

Drawing your audience into your presentation is not important – it is crucial. Doing it before the perfunctory “thank you for having me” and “Hi, my name is” will work wonders, and there are a number of effective ways you can do this.  

Try one of these five openings prior to your next presentation:

Silence Yes, silence. A pause, whether two seconds or twenty seconds, allows your audience to sit, and quiet down. Most audiences expect a speaker to begin immediately – an extra pause brings all attention right where you should want it – on you.

Ask a questionrhetorical or literal. When someone is posed with a question – whether or not an answer is required – that person intuitively answers. Be careful – if you are asking a literal question of your audience, make it non-threatening and basic. The idea is to draw your audience in, not to alienate anyone.  

A Statistic –  Not a boring statistic. When presenting your case, look for surprising statistics, a powerful statistic, or a personalized one. Then focus on using this statistic to answer the following question, “Why should my classmate/professor care?”

“Look to your left. Now look to your right. One of your classmates will ___________.”  

“In this room, after graduation over 90% of us are going to choose to work in _________. And that decision won’t just matter today, it will matter when we retire, because it means that  ______% of us will ______.”

A simple image reflecting the statistic, just sitting on the screen as you begin to address the statistic, can also generate a reaction.

A  Statement A powerful statement, left to hang with a pause, is very, very effective. Inspirational locker room speeches often start this way, as do inspirational political speeches (when they occur). It can work as an opening for a startup or for a business presentation as well.

Again, a clean, clear image supporting the statement, or even a path point with nothing but the statement, can powerfully accentuate your message. I have seen this done very effectively using the tools available from Prezi.

A Quote  Name a topic, and more often than not there is a quote that suits your subject matter perfectly. There are countless apps that can provide a quote in a tight timeframe, and again, there are many tools available via Prezi that help to accentuate (and not overtake) your quote.

These are only five of countless ways to begin your presentation without saying, “Thank you so much for having me, and today I will be talking about ABCDEF….”  

Which one will you try?

About the Author: Matt Eventoff, owner of Princeton Public Speaking, is a communication and messaging strategist. He works/has worked with leading multinational organizations, the U.S. Department of State, YPO-WPO (Young Presidents’ Organization - World Presidents' Organization) and has trained clients throughout the United States, Central America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Five Characteristics of the Modern Lecture

At SXSWedu, educators and edu-preneurs convened to discover and discuss edtech’s most promising technology. During the two-day LAUNCHedu competition, early-stage startup founders took to the stage to pitch their companies. Presenters used Prezi for memorable, engaging presentations, and audience members used Top Hat to submit feedback. The room resembled a 21st century lecture hall.

The modern lecture is defined by five characteristics:

1. Active:

Top Hat was built on the knowledge that the most effective learning model is an active one.

John Dewey, an educational philosopher, supported this vision long ago, “[Teachers] give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking, or the intentional noting of connections; learning naturally results.

Because active learning is one of the most effective ways to maintain student engagement, modern educators are turning to technology to create engaging, experiential lecture classes. In addition, educators are using student devices to administer frequent student assessments, which has proven to boost performance in large classes.

2. BYOD:

The ubiquity of mobile devices, coupled with the growing standardization of bring your own device (BYOD) policies on college campuses, makes active learning possible regardless of class size. 89% of universities have implemented BYOD models, and one survey at Ball State University showed that 99.5% of students report owning a mobile phone. The Top Hat platform allows educators to take attendance, ask questions, collect feedback, start discussions, launch quizzes, and more. Students are able to participate in Top Hat activities using any mobile device.

As University of Maryland professor Jason Farman stated in his blog post A Manifesto for Active Learning, “Finding a way to incorporate this common technology can expand the possible ways students connect both in and out of the classroom.” He says that having found a way to leverage technology in his classroom has resulted in students far more engaged with course material than Facebook or Snapchat.

3. Has Feedback:

Deborah Murray, a professor at Ohio University, uses Top Hat for what she calls “check your understanding” moments. Professor Murray asks application questions and uses Top Hat’s Reports function to follow her students’ logic. As a result, she can see how students are thinking, what they are retaining, and can amend or revise any issues along the way.

Dr. Derek Bruff, a thought leader in classroom engagement and response, created an awesome Prezi that outlines the ways that technology supports student learning. He presented “More Than Just Shiny Objects” at Boise State’s Great Ideas for Teaching and Learning Symposium.  The feedback element is important, he explains, so that students can refine their activities. Watch the video to hear examples of how technology enhances the feedback process. One of these is formative assessments, which makes student learning more visible for the educators.

4. Democratic:

In today’s entry-level courses, enrollment can be several hundred students. Educators will encounter a mixed bag of introverted and extroverted students. Technology gives every student a voice and allows introverts to participate through a channel in which they feel comfortable.

Celine Mondry, an educator at Wilfrid Laurier University, uses student mobile phones to create an equal playing field in her classroom. Shes uses Top Hat tournaments as a gamified way for students to demonstrate their understanding. Students were able to show their knowledge of course material without having to raise their hands. Ms. Mondry often noticed that her introverted students had the highest marks on exams but would not earn the 10% participation mark. Now, she says, they are proud to see their names on the leaderboards!

5. Inspiring:

Lectures have evolved beyond the transfer of knowledge. The internet has transformed content delivery and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) threaten to replace the traditional lecture model. This is not to say that lectures will no longer exist, rather they will be one piece of an educator’s focus on collaboration, conversation, and mentorship. At a time when some question the value of a college education, in fact, it may be more valuable than ever before.

In a WIRED article on using technology to empower people, its author Margaret Stewart recalls a quote from “Godmother of Silicon Alley” and NYU’s Telecommunications Program (ITP) founder Red Burns, “Software changes. Technology changes. You are here to learn how to learn.

It is up to educators to create engaging, valuable lectures that inspire students and instill a sense of curiosity, empowerment, and purpose among your students. From Burns’ opening remarks to new ITP students:

Appolinaire said: – Come to the edge, -It’s too high, – Come to the edge, – We might fall, – Come to the Edge, – And he pushed them and they flew


Learn More About Top Hat and our guest blogger Suzanne Holloway.

Introducing Prezi’s Conference Presentation Guide, just in time for SXSWedu

South By Southwest is always one of the most exciting events of the year—for ten days, thousands flock to Austin, Texas to enjoy everything from pitches and parties, to education technology and brisket. As one of the premier edtech conferences of the year, SXSWedu is the place for the coolest companies of the moment to make a splash and set the tone for 2014.

This year, we are thrilled that Prezi is the official presentation platform of the SXSWedu Launch Competition. We know, however, that these startups aren’t the only ones with career-making presentations on the horizon. That’s why we’re sharing the resources we used to help the some of the best startups we know craft jaw-dropping prezi pitch decks with the world. We have compiled these training materials, along with some of our favorite presentation tips and Prezi tutorials, into a one-stop online resource that we’re calling the Prezi EdTech Conference Presentation Guide. We’ve even included a few tools and tips to help you survive the chaos that is SXSWedu. Take a look–you might just find something that’ll take your presentations to the next level and help you be a great presenter.

Click here to visit the Prezi EdTech Conference Presentation Guide.


Learn From the EdTech Winner of SXSW V2Venture Competition

At SXSW V2Venture in Las Vegas, dozens of entrepreneurs went head to head in a fast-paced pitch competition where each company had two-minutes to showcase their product or service. These entrepreneurs presented their early-stage company to a live audience of judges, investors, and industry professionals.   

The pitches spanned several categories, including Health Technologies, Mobile and Tablet, Culture and Entertainment, Innovative World, and Best Bootstrap and Best Speed pitch.  

Below is the winner of the Education Technologies category. Watch the Founder pitch using Prezi—and get some ideas and inspiration for your own winning prezi pitch deck!

Education Technologies—LightSail

LightSail's educational experts, seasoned technologists, and successful software entrepreneurs work to develop and refine Common Core State Standard-aligned products that address critical educational challenges with measurably effective strategies.

Nail Your Next Pitch: 5 Tips From Recent Pitch Competition Winners

As an ed-tech entrepreneur, you likely have several versions of a pitch that introduces, explains, and hooks investors to your offering. But how can you refine that pitch to produce the results your business needs?  

We talked with two seasoned pros to get their top five tips for companies pitching at the SXSWedu Launch Competition (powered by Prezi!). Whether or not you are participating in LAUNCHedu pitch competition in Austin, here is their advice for executing a great pitch – wherever it may be.

1. Summon the Right Energy

Successful start-up founder Liz Bohannon explains that when pitching you have to nail the energy quotient, “Not cheese-ball, used car salesman energy, but true authentic, I-want-to-be-a-part-of-what-you're-doing energy.”

Bohannon knows all about harnessing her energy to make an impact on stage.  Last year, after launching her successful fashion company, Sseko, she pitched it to an audience of VCs and Angels at SXSW Eco Startup Pitch Competition and took home the winner's trophy. Her on-stage success has helped her not only to build a flourishing business, but also to empower and enrich the lives of Ugandan women with Sseko’s unique business model.

You can watch her pitch here:

2. Make the Problem You Are Solving Relevant and Memorable

Bohannon says that, “In defining your problem, your audience should feel the pain.  Even if they've never thought about it before that very moment, you should have them thinking, ‘Yeah! That is the worst!’” This is because, “A solution isn't a solution unless it is meeting a need people actually care about.”

4. Humor Is An Excellent Additive

“In a sea of pitches, humor will make yours more memorable,” advises Jessica Reid, Chief Academic Officer at LightSail Education, an innovative literacy platform for grades K-12.  When it comes to setting herself apart — whether it is in a formal pitch competition or simply bumping into a potential investor while out on her morning jog — Jessica swears by comedy.  “I've made people laugh both times I've done pitch competitions,” she says, “and I truly believe this is the secret sauce, because I won both times—despite running out of time during each pitch.”

Watch Reid’s winning pitch at SxSW V2V’s Start Up Pitch Competition here: 

5. Do NOT Fade Out

“The last few seconds are arguably the most important,” Bohannon says, “as it will be what sticks with them when they walk away (and start thinking about actually cutting you that check),” Bohannan warns.  She suggests a simple trick: “Figure out what your overall voice is (inspiring, motivational, clever, powerful?) and make sure your last statement is a consistent and strong echo of that sentiment.”

For more tips on how to give pitches that will wow your audience, and for free, reusable Prezi pitch deck designs, take a look at ourConference Season Success Hub.