Eric A Tremblay, better known as Eric Rambling to his 75000 responders, highlighted an award winning Prezi by Amy Burvall and Herb Mahelona, two gurus of the online presentation tool. The presentation Technotroubadours and Teacherpreneurs was given at Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE) E-Learn 2011 World Conference in Hawaii in 2011. According to Dr. Jean-Marie Muhirwa who had attended the particular presentation at the conference, the Prezi addressed ‘some of the most fundamental and complex issues related to online learning, creativity, copy rights, social justice, etc…’ but in a visual and auditory way that was obviously riveting to its large audience. Having viewed the presentation myself, I have to admit that it is pretty damned stunning and makes me think that perhaps I will try to build one for the farewell ‘speech’ this week. Of course, I cannot see it being anywhere near the standard of Amy’s and Herb’s, but at least I will get my toes wet as I take first tentative steps. The interesting characteristic for me in the use of this tool, is the seamless way it can lead you through a fascinating maze of graphics, video and auditory media, allowing you to pause here and there, click on a link, or video, zoom in through another array of visual tunnels and side-passages, and eventually come out the other side, a little glazed around the eyeballs perhaps, but definitely aware that you have participated in a real and engaging experience. I can see that I could use this tool to bring a whole new dimension to the presentation of Art history and its practical application as a model for teaching technical skills in a way that allows student access on their laptops and a pacing that is suited to the individual learner. If there is one Web 2.0 tool I have found during this unit, and that I can say is made for me and my teaching style, I think this could be the one.
But, as Dr. Jean-Marie Muhirwa asks at the close of his review, ‘ Assuming the technical skills and the subject matter expertise are warranted as it was the case in the Burvall-Mahelona partnership, where do you find time and pedagogical skills to design a prezi that is worthwhile to your students? ‘ Where indeed? But I will certainly try!