A few weeks ago, I posted that a Prezi that I had created for my AP Biology class was the winner of a twitter contest, and as a result was accessible on the main page of the site. At the time, the good folks at Prezi sent me a note informing that the thing would be on the home page for “a few days”, which has turned out to mean “four weeks and counting”. Being on the homepage has meant a nice little bit of bragging clout, but it has also meant that something I have created has been seen by a truly incredible number of people (north of 145 thousand), more folks than have ever looked at anything that I have ever made. Yippee for me.
Prezi has a comment thread for public presentations, and the thread on mine gets one or two a day. Most of them are very nice, but a few are clearly the work of trolls, creationists, or just odd folks. None of that is particularly bothersome, though it does make for some fun times. I have enjoyed moderating the thread, and I have tried my darnedest to try to leave up the critical notes, along with the laudatory ones. I’ve even allowed creationists to have their say (the working rule is you get one comment, I get a reply, and then you can go to whatever crazy place on the Internet you get our nutty thinking from and leave the rest of us alone). Really, there aren’t that many nuts, though I did get an email (on my work address) telling me how “neat” my presentation was before throwing up a couple of common canards and encouraging me to go “learn” from a fundamentalist Christian website. The author did not enjoy my reply, in which I tried as hard as possible to be politely firm in my opposition to his viewpoint (though I did classify his critique as “twaddle”, which seemed to be the particular bug in his bonnet).
I’m really very happy that folks like the work I’m doing for my class, but I don’t agree with the notion that there is anything particularly special about what I’m doing. The prezi format allows for conceptual design that seems well past anything that can be done in a traditional slideware format. All you need is a schema for your topic, and you can probably evoke it at a level that is surprisingly representative. Also, the work that I do just takes other folk’s created images and puts a text narrative underneath. Occasionally, I create a diagram in Prezi, proper, but since the good people at Pearson have given me permission to use the digital media that accompanies Campbell’s Biology (9th edition), there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of need.
Anyway, those are my thoughts after racking up more views than I know what to do with on something that I originally thought would only be seen by the kids who came through my classroom (and the legion of colleagues who have to deal with me on the list serve). There are other, more technical points that I could make about what I think is the best way to create presentations on the Prezi platform, but that’s not really the point of this note. I just thought it was a good time to reflect.