Thursday, September 15, 2011

What's Holding You Back from Using Prezi?


Many of us are scared of trying new things. Especially when it comes to technology. We are scared that, in the words of one of my graduate students, "we will break something that we cannot fix." These are the words of a true "digital immigrant," or someone who knows what life was like before the Internet!

What's the problem with this? Our kids are "digital natives" and technology is something they like to use, because of the possibilities to create, collaborate, and experiment. Our kids are not scared of technology. Why? There's always the "Undo" button. Unfortunately they learn that this is not always the case in real-life.

So to all of you "digital immigrants" (including myself)...can I ask you a question? When you have to do presentations in class, what do you normally turn to? Let me guess...PowerPoint. Many of our kids are "PowerPointed" out. In the past I have written about another alternative called Prezi, yet many of us are scared to use it. Why? We just don't know how and we are scared of breaking something!

Buffy Hamilton from Creekview High School (GA) has an excellent site (titled Prezi 101) armed with video tutorials, cheat sheets, ect. to get you more comfortable with Prezi. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, it's worth a look.

What's also nice is the fact that there are many sample Prezi's for you to look at...just in case you have never seen one before. This resource tool is an excellent way of learning how to use Prezi or teach your students how to use it.

How Does this Relate to UDL?

In this posting, you are the student. This site is providing you with multiple ways to learn materials from the beginning through video clips, hands-on activities, samples, etc.

You may have sat in staff development sessions encouraging you to use this tool. Maybe you even had someone tell you how to use it. For our auditory learners, this is great. But you have severely limited learning opportunities from the start for your visual and tactile (hands-on) learners. If staff development had a Universal Design framework from the beginning, certain supports would already be in place.

For example, you may have want to break teachers into smaller learning groups, where they can play around with this techonogy and learn/listen to an expert walk them through on a projector screen. You may have another group of teachers who feel pretty comfortable with Prezi, why not have them "teach" the other teachers?

We all know that we forget how to use things after the fact. Why not email teachers a Word document with links already embedded, so that they don't have to manually type them in? Why not provide links to short video tutorials for teachers who need to "see" it?

For more on Universal Design for Learning, visit http://www.udlcenter.org/

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