Student Guest Post: The Value of Creativity in the Classroom

Heading off to university, the most common question I’d get asked was “oh what are you studying?” When I told everyone what it was, I would get the obligatorily puzzled, but upbeat response “Oh. That sounds…great!”

I was off to get a Bachelor of Arts in Film Production, which hardly seemed a mainstream subject to head to university for. I soon learned I wasn’t just off to study something I was passionate about, I was setting out to gain skills and face challenges that demanded problem solving, and creative solutions.

This past summer George Anders wrote in Forbes about the growing demand for the so-called “useless” liberal arts degrees. You’ll hear quite often on campus the talk of getting skills beyond your degree, getting work outside of your university experience to prepare you for the real world and so on. With everything in life going digital, virtual, and faster-than-light streaming (almost), it’s becoming more and more necessary to tackle challenges with a creative perspective.

Leading meetings, completing group work, and engaging an audience are all key parts of an arts degree. These skills are people focused, and this is what makes them so relevant today. Technology, communication, and people are interwoven more than ever in the modern workplace. Having the ability to build rapport with others is just as valuable and essential as being technically gifted, because while you learn how to work with a computer system, learning how to work with the systems of people is just as dynamic a challenge.

When I applied to be a Prezi Ambassador in my sophomore year, I saw exactly how such a creative tool could enable others to learn a more creative approach to communicating--to tackle work in a way that I had been learning all this time through my degree.

I’ve learned that people don’t want to be taught to work differently–they want to be inspired to. This fantastic quote really sums this up to me – “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel” (Carl W. Buehner). On campus I immediately got the sense of expectation that my audience had when I presented a Prezi workshop, and I saw just how key my learning experiences have been to preparing me for such a real world challenge.

As a Prezi Ambassador I learned how to channel this into organizing grassroots marketing campaigns from scratch, creating successful visual stories in my prezis, with my work going on to be recognized across campus by senior lecturers and professional departments. Learning these social skills is a crucial part of university and of any degree, and by combining that with being a Prezi Ambassador I saw first-hand that creativity should certainly be part of everyone’s classroom.

About the author: James Hipkiss is a Prezi Ambassador Alumni, and a senior studying Film Production at University of Gloucestershire in the U.K. He is currently a Student Ambassador for his University and is on an action team organizing a digital skills conference next January, where he plans to give a keynote speech. In his spare time he plays badminton at University, surfs, and regularly takes up volunteer work abroad.

Prezi Educators Society Guest Column: Using Prezi to Help Students Effectively Write and Present Research

Writing and presenting research can feel overwhelming. In addition to finding a topic for their research, students also need to find sources, and then they have to figure out how to put all the sources together into some kind of coherent paper/presentation. In order to do this effectively, they need to master synthesis (see Synthesizing means taking the summary, analysis, and interpretation of various sources and putting them together to capture three important things:

  • Conversation: Consider not only what each source says, but also how each source responds to what others say. Do they agree? Disagree? Does one source have ideas another one is missing?
  • Argument: Organize your content by claims that build to a strong argument. Some students make the mistake of simply summarizing each source in a separate paragraph, but it’s much more effective if students look at claims and use sources wherever they support those claims. For example, if a source makes a claim about definition, that definition should probably go near the beginning, when the audience needs background information. If the same source also makes a claim about policy (i.e. We should…), then that claim should probably be used near the end of the paper, where the call to action for an argument is generally made.
  • Narrative: Tell a story. In other words, help the audience understand what has happened in the past, how it has affected the present, and what we can do about it now and in the future. To write or present research effectively, students need to know how to organize sources so this story is clear to the audience.

If we want our students’ research to reflect conversation, argument, and narrative, it helps if students can visually see the relationship between sources. Prezi can help them do this, but they will be more successful at it if you prepare them through the following steps:

1.      Start with an annotated bibliography where students not only summarize and evaluate sources, but also identify key claims. For a quick reference on this kind of assignment see OWL Purdue (

2.      After students have an annotated bibliography, have them break up sources by claims in a table. Through this table, students should begin to see how they can use each source to back up different claims in their paper. This will also help students avoid simply summarizing sources in separate paragraphs without thinking about how they relate to each other.

3.      Once students have organized the sources in a table, they can begin transferring them into a prezi template that allows them to see relationships between their overall question/thesis, major claims, and sources that support each claim. To see one template that works well for this, check out this sample ( [a1] 

Though this visual outline could also be completed in other formats, there are a few key advantages to creating the outline in Prezi:

  • Peer Review: Students can present their outline to the whole class or in small groups and get feedback from their peers on conversation, argument, and narrative.
  • Whole & Parts: Since Prezi allows students to see both the whole framework and the individual pieces of their outline, students can more easily see where synthesis in conversation, claims, and narrative is working (or not working).
  • Editing Power: Graphic organizer worksheets have been used for many years to help students organize their thinking and prepare to write, but when the outlines are in Prezi, students can more easily move ideas, expand ideas, and add new ideas.
  • Presentation Draft: In addition to helping them draft their paper, a visual outline of sources in Prezi can also be a draft for a presentation. Presenting is becoming an increasingly important skill in higher education and professional life, and learning to transfer a research paper into a Prezi format can help students learn to transfer other ideas to visual formats in the future.

Research papers are not easy to write or present, but if we focus on helping students develop the skill of synthesis through powerful visual tools like Prezi, students will be much more likely to present their ideas in a clear and compelling way. For more information on how to help students present effectively with Prezi, check out these other great resources:

About the guest author: Diantha Smith is PhD candidate in English and the Teaching of English at Idaho State University. She has taught writing to college students for five years, and before that, she taught 2nd and 3rd grade for six years. No matter what ages she’s teaching, she loves finding new ways to incorporate technology and teaching to help her students be successful in writing, researching, and presenting.



Prezi Takes on the Creative Economy

Prezi has been a proud supporter of SXSWedu for many years now. In addition to sending our team to Austin, we have also hosted the LAUNCHedu showcase, and joined many of our ConnectED partners in town hall discussions.


Year-over-year, though, the highlight of the conference has been meeting so many exceptional educators who have reimagined their classrooms. 

Looking ahead to 2016, we are excited to share that we are not only renewing our commitment to SXSW, but also focusing on a singularly important issue on the mind of teachers around the country today: how do I best prepare my students for the creative economy?

At Prezi we believe that in order to fuel a dynamic, ideas-based economy for the 21st century, we must focus on teaching creativity. That is why we hope to convene a group of teachers and innovators for a problem-solver discussion at SXSW. If we can help students pursue their curiosity and become creators today, we can be more confident they will adapt to the needs of tomorrow.

Over the next few weeks, we invite you to share your thoughts on the challenge, and we look forward to seeing you in Austin in March 2016!


The Value of Learning Outside the Lecture Hall

Our freshman year, my roommate and I were blocked into the quiet, math and science dorm. Naturally, people gravitate toward those who share common interests, and while it was nice being in this dorm when we needed homework help, it just wasn’t for us. We devised a mission to meet people outside our comfort zones and take proactive action because we wanted to. As a result, our social circles grew from knowing zero to 100 people within the first week. It was all new, fun and exciting, and we were seeing what college was really all about. I met her friends, she met mine, and it didn’t take much for us to meet more because we were around outgoing people. Now as I prepare to go into my sophomore year at Cal Poly SLO, it has become clear to me that I gained more knowledge outside of the classroom than I did in it. It wasn’t until I stepped out of my comfort zone that I achieved what I consider to be my greatest personal accomplishments.

As much as students go to college to get an education, students look forward to picking up life skills as well. Today’s society is full of lol’s and rofl’s and not so much personal interaction. With the shift to texting, effective communication skills are dwindling and becoming a precious commodity. No company is going to hire someone if they can do the work, but can’t communicate with people. Hiring talented, as well as amiable people is becoming more prevalent in today’s work force.

Across the board, in a wide variety of businesses, people would rather work with someone who is like-able and incompetent than with someone who is skilled and obnoxious, said Tiziana Casciaro, professor at Harvard Business School,” (Penelope Trunk, Penelope Trunk Blog).

That being said, I never regretted honing my networking skills at a social event, introducing myself to random people I saw, or giving a campus tour to a prospective student. Standard social skills are becoming imperative to surviving not only in the real world, but standing out from others.

Processing each experience as a learning moment, my roommate and I fostered a new set of social skills. We further developed our emotional intelligence as we welcomed challenging social situations. Not only did this help us socially, but we thrived academically. Once I asked more questions during lectures and visited bi-weekly office hours, my grades noticeably improved. The bi-weekly check-ins also strengthened our relationships with our professors and they personally helped us understand the material. We became active students rather than passive, befriended strangers to work with them on group projects, and connected with people help answer our questions; it was that easy.

Surrounding myself with the right people was the core ingredient to my success. Because I chose my attitude, I was able to learn from my experiences and my freshman year as a year of exponential growth and learning. When I asked my friends what they got out of their first year, they said “I learned the fastest way to get to class” or “taking cereal from the dining hall so I don’t have to pay for it later” or “don’t longboard to class, you’ll get a ticket”.  Although this doesn’t seem glamorous or cool, it was to my friends, because they learned by doing.

I knew what I needed to do to and not do to make this year a success but I also asked others what they did. When I talked to them about their conclusions, they all said they had missions too; to extract the most out of their college experience. After concluding what they had to say as well what I went through, I concocted this prezi to showcase the do’s & don’ts from real students.  What I learned might not be special, but it sure is valuable.  


About the Author: Nicole Cooper is a current Education Marketing Intern at Prezi, and a sophomore at Cal Poly SLO pursuing an Industrial Engineering degree. She plans to be an orientation leader for incoming freshman to help them find their way and get in the groove their first week as a part of Cal Poly’s Week of Welcome. In her spare time, she travels at least twice a year to various countries, hikes the numerous trails of San Luis Obispo (preferably at sunrise), can eat breakfast all day, and can speak three languages (English, Spanish, and Russian).

7 Ways for Teachers to use Prezi in the Classroom

“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”               – Jimmy Johnson

Teachers have an opportunity to do this every day in their class: take something ordinary and make it extraordinary. With Prezi, a boring project overview is an exciting ride through topics, requirements and ideas.

Here are seven ways to add excitement to every classroom presentation with Prezi:

Bring a Lesson to Life

Any lesson is made more fun when it’s in the format of a Prezi presentation. Turn one lesson a week into a zooming display of information. Start in the zoomed-out view, where you can show all the elements of that day’s lesson and then add dynamic elements like YouTube videos to get students excited about what’s to come.

Present a Timeline

Timelines could use a facelift, especially when you’re using them to explain the dates of historic events that aren’t all that fascinating when plopped on a straight line. With Prezi you can move between dates and find current, real world content to bring context to something historical or fictional.

Display Student Data

Many tools now provide teachers with a variety of data points, on both a class and student level, that can be fun to share with students. Some tools, like Whooo’s Reading, allow you to pair student or classroom data with fun imagery (student Owlvatars) for an exciting presentation showing students how well they’re doing.

Introduce Yourself at Open House Night

Open house: you dread it and parents dread it. Next year, make your information session a bit more fun with a Prezi presentation. Don’t forget to add information about yourself, images of you in the classroom and perhaps videos showing parents what they can expect their students to be learning and doing throughout the school year.

Explore the Features of a New Classroom Tool

Classrooms everywhere are gaining access to new tools and software, like Chromebooks or iPads. Use Prezi to give students an overview of what they’ll be doing with the tools, rules about how to use them and any other resources they may need to be successful.

Share the Rubric for a Project

When you use Prezi as a rubric for projects, you can include your own rich content as examples of what you expect from your students. It’s also a fun way for students to check their work: they’ll love zooming between requirements as they check to see if they have completed them.

Present Writing Prompts

Use Prezi to display writing prompts for the week. Go through each prompt in class, and then allow students to find their prompt for the day by going through the presentation themselves. This is a simple way to can make something basic a lot more exciting for students.

Guest Blogger: Jessica Sanders is the Director of Social Outreach for Learn2Earn, an online fundraising platform that allows students raise money by reading books. She grew up reading books like The Giver and Holes, and is passionate about making reading as exciting for young kids today as it has always been for her. Follow Learn2Earn on Twitter and Facebook, and send content inquiries to


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.