Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Snazzy Presentations with Prezi

Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak about web 2.0 technologies at the Kentucky Digital Government Summit, a conference for IT professionals from government entities throughout the state. I've spoken on web 2.0 and social networking software a number of times but usually to librarian audiences. I wanted to do something interesting for a group of mostly CIOs, CTOs, and high-level IT directors, but I hadn't thought of anything clever until Chris, a colleague from SLA Academic, suggested I should try Prezi sometime for a presentation. He had recently wowed audiences with a presentation about his library. I took one look at it and was hooked.

Prezi basically gives you a blank canvas which you can add text, images, links, screenshots, etc. You can group them together, draw lines to your objects, or whatever. As a last step, you connect each object in the order you plan to present. It's hard to describe, so maybe you should watch this clip or look at a good example of a Prezi presentation. It takes a little getting used to and has its own lingo--the "transformation zebra" for one--but I got the hang of it pretty quickly and had fun building and tweaking.

Once your presentation is complete, you can download your presentation for offline use. While it is a Flash file, no Flash player is necessary--the neat little package you download includes an executable file. I was particularly relieved that I finished the presentation over the weekend and downloaded it, as Prezi had an unprecedented major failure on Monday. The company was great about posting updates on the situation, and thankfully I didn't have too many final edits to make. They may be upgrading access to those of who were affected as a way of compensation.

So admittedly my Prezi on Web 2.0 was a first attempt, and I already want to do the next one differently. I was still pretty pleased with how it looked and with the audience response. One attendee sent me a Facebook message after the conference noting: "I never once looked at my watch!"

I'm looking forward to my next Prezi.

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