Most of us use PowerPoint for creating presentations, a tool launched in 1990… For over 20 years we have been using the metaphor of slides introduced by Microsoft. It is quite challenging for us to start thinking differently, from a new perspective. Sometimes it is very helpful to think outside the box.
Is our thinking linear at all? Learning has more to do with a network than a line. It consists of nodes and connections between them. Second language acquisition is considered by some researches as a chaotic/complex system. That’s the way we learn. To see why it is so, you as a teacher and your learner need to be able to zoom in and zoom out.
A great example of non-linear and linear thinking in action is Prezi, a new form of digital presentation. Why? Because Prezi uses a map-like metaphor.“See the big picture” takes on a whole new meaning. Once you created your Prezi you can give your viewers control over it: they can zoom in and out, drag the page around. Besides, Prezi is a very eye-catching tool. You can always use it to wow your audience and surprise your learners.
If you are new to Prezi you’ll need to explore some tutorials and have some subsequent “play-time”. Once you get used to this style of navigation many interesting ways to structure and organize information become possible.
When we talk about the EAL/ESL context Prezi can be used in more ways than just a presentation tool.
You can use it to introduce the major concepts on your program syllabus to your learners for them to be able to explore all the details on their own. You can easily embed links, videos, even your learners’ testimonials and student-created materials. Make your Prezi a landing page for your learners!
Create a prezi with some visual information (graph/chart/diagram/process) and ask your EAP learners to describe some parts of the process in the context of a big picture.
Now you have an easy way to focus on key details. So, use it to create speaking activities. Gradually reveal the wider context of a photo by first zooming in on a small detail and then gradually zooming out. Use this activity to practice asking question, describing, analyzing, making predictions, expressing opinion, asking for clarification and so on.
Prezi is an infinite canvas, so now you and your learners can create detailed timelines to provide comprehension support for reading and listening activities.
And yes! Your learners can work on Prezi collaboratively! You can start creating a new prezi from scratch together. Or you can start it and let your learners contribute. Watch how your prezi grows in real time. Your learners can drag and drop objects to sort them into groups while having pro/con arguments, or they can brainstorm problem solutions, or you prezi can become an invaluable repository of pieces of knowledge collected collaboratively.
Be creative and remember you are no longer limited by step1, step 2, step 3. Not only details, but the whole canvas can convey meaning.
Watch the webinar recording or look though the handout to get links to the examples and much more.
Thanks and see you online!