May 29 – 3: Videos in the classroom

I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with baited breath to hear how my Prezi went today, so I won’t make you wait any longer:

I think it worked.

I won’t know for sure until next year, when I see how many of my students actually take part in the summer reading program I was promoting today. But with the music and the zooming effects and everything, it definitely got and held most of my students’ attention. And it seemed like they paid more attention to it than they usually pay to me when I stand and present information to them. And really, it wasn’t much more work than putting together a PowerPoint – the Prezi interface is pretty easy to use. The only extra work is setting up the frames that you want the camera to zoom to and from. I think next year I’m going to be leaning on Prezi a lot for things that I need to introduce to my kids.

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May 28 – 2: Prezi

Tomorrow at work I’m going to start promoting the summer reading program that we’re trying to get our students to participate in, and also start introducing them to a broader reading incentive initiative that we’re planning to start next fall. One of the biggest challenges I face at my school is trying to get my students to participate in various programs – for whatever reason, they often just don’t get excited about things that I’m doing that I think are really cool. So as I started working on my presentation, I was looking for something more exciting than my typical PowerPoint-and-flyer combo, which hasn’t been as effective as I’ve wanted it to be.

What I ended up going with is a Prezi, which is a lot like a PowerPoint, only a little more dynamic because it zooms from one slide to the next. I had a lot of fun playing with setting it up – it really speaks to my design geek side, since you have a fair bit of control over the way that it looks, but it’s also super easy to use and has some of the basic design built for you when you start. On their end of the year survey, my students overwhelmingly said that I talk too much, so I’ve set this up so that it should be able to autoplay, and I’m planning to play some beach-y music behind it (maybe this? or this? or this?) and just let it go. Wish me luck!