At the end of each year we hold a Parent Information Meeting for the parents of the next year’s intake of children coming to Kindy. Even though I generally know more than 2/3 of the parents, as I have taught the siblings before, it is still a daunting experience. We even invited the children along this year to get to know them. My Education Assistant played with them in another room while the meeting was on and they joined us for afternoon tea following the meeting. This year my husband introduced me to a programme called Prezi and suggested I use that for my presentation. I thought the programme may be of use to some of you so I’m going to show you briefly an outline of how it works.
To start off you need to sign up. If you want to make private presentations then you need to either buy a premium licence or you can get an educational one for free. You can also get a free version of Prezi but the presentations are public. I used my cathednet email address to get a free educational licence. It was as simple as putting in the email address. The site recognises educational email addresses. Once set up you click on new Prezi to get started.
There are plenty of useful templates you can use as an outline for your presentation or you can start with a blank slate. You can even import an existing Powerpoint Presentation and it will convert it to a Prezi for you.
Here’s a closer look at the owl template. You can see at the top that you can add images, shapes, media etc or import from a Power Point presentation. You make a path (series of frames linked together) and the presentation plays along that path.
As I was just learning and playing around with it I chose a fairly basic layout that had a circle in the middle with frames around the outside for my information. I made the middle circle my title page and addressed each point I wanted to make in the frames surrounding it. These included posing the question “What do you want your child to get out of Kindy?”, our Kindy philosophy, what our Kindy will look like, what and how children learn through play, how parents can help their children to learn, how to help your child on the first day and general housekeeping.
Prezi can do a few impressive things. You can make text so small that it is virtually invisible in a picture and then zoom into it for the next slide on the path. I put my prayer on the teacher’s apple and had it zoom in.
I did the same thing with a few of the other slides including the question and the philosophy. I had a philosophy that I submitted to the principal at the beginning of last year but I was unhappy with it as a philosophy to share with the parents. It was too full of jargon and long winded. I wanted something concise and easy to understand. I looked around at a few other philosophies and took the bits I liked, left out the bits I didn’t like and added bits I thought were missing. So here it is:
Here’s a closeup of another one of the slides.
All in all, I think the Prezi has a lot of potential. I had some trouble with it at first but once I got my head around how things worked it was fairly simple and basic to use. The one advantage I liked was that it doesn’t need any other software to run. You can either download a copy of your presentation to a USB and run it from that or you can run it straight from the webpage. This means you can make the presentation at home and then log in at work and it will be there ready to go. I opted for a USB as a back up just in case the server or internet went down but in the end ran it from the webpage. I was worried about it not working and then as it was a stormy day on the day of the presentation a colleague said, “So what are you going to do if the power goes out?” Arrgghhhh I hadn’t even thought of that possibility!
In the end the power stayed on and the presentation played well and we ended the meeting with afternoon tea.