Prezi and collaborative learning

This isn’t rocket science, but I was really impressed by the easy way in which Prezi worked, the students were enthused and were able to easily share their knowledge using Prezi’s ‘edit together’ set up.  I was so impressed, I thought I’d share it with you.

The scenario is this.  I’m working with a small year 10 group.  They’re keen on history – but they don’t like writing copious notes.  Neither do I for that matter, so we have something in common.   I have made a deal that we’ll do lots of writing of answers, but not a great deal of writing of notes.

So, how to record what they’ve learned, if we’re not allowed to do lots of note-taking?  Well, we’ll try the usual things – spider diagrams, tables, highlighting and making posters and stuff.  I thought that prezi might make a nice way in though, as an activity early in the year.

Prezi, if you don’t know is a zoomable presentation editor.  You can make presentations that zoom in, allowing you to represent the big picture, and precise detail.  For this lesson I created a base presentation – which you’ll find here.

For homework, students visited prezi on their own and created themselves one of the free prezi accounts – this meant less faff when the lessons started – though there were one or two who needed help in creating their accounts. Whilst they were being helped, the class read a sheet about the different countries involved in the first world war, and how they were affected – highlighting some key points.

When they’d done that I shared an ‘edit this together link’ to the presentation with them on our blog. They clicked, logged in and we were away. Their task was to use their exercise books and the highlighted sheets to build the presentation – specifically the precise detail they’d need to really understand the topic and get the grades they wanted.

Whilst they were editing they could see little avatars of their classmates, telling them who was working on which bit.

Prezi in action

What they came up with was:

Which I’m really pleased with. We ended the lesson with a go at improving an answer, using the specific detail in their presentation – they printed their improved versions out and stuck those in their books. A quick go with the class tools fruit machine as a check for understanding and memory and we were done.

3 thoughts on “Prezi and collaborative learning

  1. Dave Stacey

    Great post, great idea!

    I’ve heard of the idea of using Prezi like this before, and it’s on my list of ‘things to try out’, but it’s moving up thanks to this post – really useful to see exactly how you made it work.

    Did you get a sense of the maximum number of students that it’s practical to have editing the same prezi at the same time?

    Reply
    1. Ed Post author

      Thanks Dave, it is good to know you’re still reading – despite the infrequent posting!
      It was a really good hour, and they seemed to learn a lot.

      I don’t yet have an idea of how well prezi performs in groups as I was using it with ultra thin clients, so there was a little lag. I’m teaching ICT for the first time this year, so I suspect I’ll try this with ‘proper’ computers in the near future. When I do I’ll post here to let you know what the result was.

      I was thinking this morning that it might be quite a nice thing to do with 6th formers, as a way of helping them plan essays?

      Reply
  2. Pingback: ICT for learning about history | One Damn Thing

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