For the most part of my student life, everytime I heard the words “visual support” with “oral presentation”, it meant Powerpoint. It was the ultimate, best way to create fun, colorful and relevant visual support for the many oral presentations I had to do in high school and Cegep, and even university for a little while. When I bought my computer (a Macbook Pro), I didn’t have access to Microsoft Office and was really bummed out about not being able to use Powerpoint. So I found some kind of equivalent : Keynote. Overall, it was okay. The templates were really professional, and it was easy to use, but I still missed Powerpoint for some reason. Then, during my first semester in university, when I had to do a group presentation for a class, one of my classmates said “I can make the Prezi”. My immediate reply was “A what ?”.
Prezi is an amazing tool to create visual presentations for school or business. What is really great is the fact that it is on the internet : no need to download a program. Also, it’s completely free, which is really, really cool. All you have to do if you want to use Prezi is to sign up, and it takes about 5 seconds (even less if you want to connect it to your Facebook account). Of course, there are different kinds of memberships, and some cost money, but the free version is usually more than enough for what you have to do. If you work in education, you have the opportunity to have a free, complete membership. Once you’ve signed up (and it really takes 5 seconds), you can immediately start creating. And it’s super easy.
Another thing that is great about Prezi is that they are all public. Once you’ve created your presentation, anybody can see it. So if you go on the Explore page (http://prezi.com/explore/popular/), you can see all the great Prezis that have been created by people all around the world. As a teacher, you can certainly find presentations that can help you with your content. You want to introduce Edgar Allan Poe to your students ? Here you go : http://prezi.com/explore/search/?search=edgar+allan+poe#search=edgar+allan+poe&reusable=false&page=1&users=less. There are even Prezis about grammar, that can help you introduce a new concept to your students (for example, here is one about the article : http://prezi.com/i77ki1upsir3/the-article/). It is also a great way to give interactive, fun lectures (http://prezi.com/prezi-for-education/).
So your Prezis are always available to your students. Just send them the link, et voilà ! What is great about this is the fact that students can always go back to the Prezis if they ever need to. If there is a test coming, and someone is struggling to remember what are the different types of article, they can just go back to the Prezi and revise the content. It’s really easy and accessible from basically anywhere. But this goes both ways. If your students create Prezis for assignments, you can also go back to see what they have done. Of course, for younger students, using Prezi might be more difficult (http://www.readwritethink.org/professional-development/strategy-guides/teaching-with-zooming-slideshows-30886.html). Why not create tutorials to help them ? There a lot on Youtube, or you can create your own. You could even create a Prezi about how to use Prezi. The resources are there, so why not use them ?
What is fun about a Prezi is that you don’t just have “slides” like in Powerpoint. You can literally “fly” between your bullet points and zoom on some to make stand out (http://www.bbcactive.com/BBCActiveIdeasandResources/UsingPreziInEducation.aspx). For students, it makes things simply easier. If you zoom on something in particular, they will know and understand that it is important. And you can use colors and pictures to make it more fun.
I really suggest you to try out Prezi. You may feel like betraying Powerpoint, your long-time friend, but even the founder of Powerpoint agrees with me. He said about Prezi that it is : “A marvelous approach to the visualization of information.” (http://prezi.com) Do you really need any other argument ?