Tag Archives: Presentationtools Web2.0tools Vuvox Animoto Voicethread Prezi

The Power of Multimedia

Why use multimedia in the classroom? In this day and age, with the tools we have available to us, why not? We live in a digital world with students who are digitally wired. David Warlick (2007) in his post Our Classrooms are Leaking talks about how our students are digitally connected with ‘info-tentacles” in their daily life, and then, when they come to school, we “chop their tentacles off” (para 5). Multimedia tools give our students the ability to reconnect and use those tentacles at school.

Singh and Means (nd), in their project Technology and Education Reform, looked at nine schools where technology was being incorporated. They found students had a better awareness of audience and purpose for their projects, an increased ability to collaborate, use more higher-order thinking skills, and showed an increase in motivation and self-esteem. The role of the teacher became more facilitative, rather than directorial.

The University of South Florida’s Education department state that “Multimedia activities encourage students to work in groups, express their knowledge in multiple ways, solve problems, revise their own work, and construct knowledge.” (para 1).  As I read over this list, I immediately think of the 21st century skills we deem so important for students: collaboration, creative expression of knowledge, problem solving, editing and presenting work for an audience, and constructing their own knowledge. Multimedia tools and activities engage and motivate students. Every time I have introduced students to a new multimedia tool, they have immediately become more excited about the subject we will be using the tool for, whether it is language arts, social studies, or science.

In the posts below, I have explored five multimedia tools: VoiceThread, Animoto, Vuvox, Jing, and Prezi. Each one has its own power:

VoiceThread: the images and the conversations between students

Animoto: the energy and vividness of the medium ( music is essential)

Vuvox: the creation of a storyline using photos

Jing: the ability to share your compute screen with the world

Prezi: the ability to share your thoughts in a nonlinear fashion with the ability to zoom in and create focus and drama for your thoughts

All of these provide you ways to share your ideas, stories, research, teaching and learning in a deep and rich way, appealing to the multi sensory outputs of your audience. They all help you to focus and consider the audience for your work, and is that not the power of communication? It allows us to create together and share our work with each other in meaningful and powerful ways. In this way we learn together, and our learning is deeper and richer.


Singh, R. & Means, B. (nd). Technology and Education Reform. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/EdReformStudies/EdTech/index.html

University of South Florida. (nd). Why use multimedia in the classroom. Retrieved from http://fcit.usf.edu/multimedia/overview/overviewb.html

Warlick, D.  (2007). Our classrooms are leaking. In 2 Cents Worth. Retreived from http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/?p=1166


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Multimedia Tools: Prezi

See my Prezi in my post below!

Learning about the tool

Prezi was the tool I found most similar to PowerPoint. Prezi, however, is more fluid; rather than working on each slide separately, you see the entire board. This allows for a better overall view of your presentation or project. Contradictorily, at first, it was frustrating to have so much mobility….it seemed like I was everywhere! Once again, YouTube tutorials to the rescue! Using the editing wheels to create and manipulate the presentation was awkward at first, however, once I got the hang of it, it was fun….kinda like driving those bumper cars at the mall! 🙂

Ashraf (2010) says Prezis have 4 basic elements: content, effects, visual enhancements and paths. Prezis allow for upload of video, PDFs and image, and of course, the addition of as much text as you wish. If you can run on forever in PowerPoint, you can run on forever in Prezi, too! An advantage is that you can combine the use of short, powerful snippets of text to make a point along with areas of longer text to explain, persuade, etc. How is that different from PowerPoint? The use of the zooming tool (more on that later) adds a powerful punch to your shorter text.

Uploading images was easily done, as well as video. Video was a simple matter of finding a video on You Tube and copying the address into a text box. Voila, the video shows up! How easy is that? Prezi shines with its capability to add effects, enhancements and pathways. The ability to add text in a fluid, non-linear way can enhance your message incredibly well. Text can be inserted sideways, angled, or upside down for that matter. Then, creating pathways moves your presentation from text to text, aligning it so it is always readable and upright. Visually, it can look like you are on a rollercoaster ride. Using your zooming tool allows you to …well…zoom in an out of groups. Text, images and video can be grouped with the framing tool to ensure readability. Creating pathways is simple; clicking from one frame to another allows you to move from text to text in a variety of ways, adding to the effect of movement, again helping you to explore images in depth, focus on certain sections of text, and to create more visual power for your presentation.

Collaboration is where 21st century students are at! Prezi allows you to easily collaborate on the same Prezi at the same time. Simply click on the Meeting tab, and a box pops up with a URL. Click to copy the URL and send it to up to 10 people. The link lasts for a week, and all 10 people can be editing the Prezi at the same time (this does require that all users have a Prezi account).

Drawbacks? Prezi does not allow for audio, which is fine if you are using it to enhance a speaking presentation or for teaching, but is disappointing if you want audio enhancement. I was also disappointed in the limited variety of fonts (and backgrounds) I was able to use. I found Prezis took more thought and work than a straightforward PowerPoint. As well, you need to be careful not to overuse the zooming and pathway tools. Too much of a bouncing, zooming Prezi can leave people focused on the presentation, not the point.

Overall, however, the ability to zoom in on text or images, to frame, add arrows, and create pathways helps to make Prezi a visually stunning presentation tool.

Personal use of the tool

This is a tool that I would tend to use more in my professional life than personal. I could see it being used for presenting at a wedding…way better than the traditional slideshow! Also, the Prezi blog talks about using Prezi meeting for an office birthday card! What about using Prezi for the dreaded “Let me show you the pictures of my trip!”? As a student, I think it would be a great way to present my learning rather than a paper!

Professional use of the tool

I think that Prezis would be a wonderful new tool for students (and teachers) who are Power Pointed out. Prezi gives them tools to use the visual aids that students today respond to so well. Prezi meeting is a fantastic way for them to collaborate on one presentation simultaneously. Prezi does not only have to be used for research projects. Why not use it for persuasive writing or book talks?

Paul Hill’s Prezi talks about how using Prezi as a teaching tool allows you to: move your lesson in a nonlinear way, focus attention on critical text, zoom in on images to help emphasize a point, and embed videos to enhance your teaching, increasing the power of your lesson.

On the Prezi blog, Radnai shows how Rob Newberry is using Prezi meeting for student collaboration: check out this video of grade six students using Prezi meeting to collaborate.


Ashraf, (2010). Stun the audience by using Prezi instead of PowerPoint. Retrieved from http://dottech.org/tipsntricks/16061

Hill, P. (2010). Thoughts on using Prezi as a teaching tool. Retrieved from http://dottech.org/tipsntricks/16061

Radnai, Z. (2010). Video: Prezi meeting in the classroom. Retrieved from http://blog.prezi.com/2010/10/11/video-prezi-meeting-in-the-classroom/

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