“For those of us who began our careers in education in the mid-70s, Steve Jobs, along with Steve Wozniak, brought to life the first glimpses of what would become educational technology,” said Jim Hirsch, associate superintendent for academic and technology services at the Plano Independent School District in Texas.
Some ed-tech enthusiasts have accused Jobs of turning his back on education in favor of the much more lucrative consumer market. But Apple’s mobile devices are used by millions of students and have helped spark a mobile learning revolution.
For instance, iBooks was recently launched as a virtual bookstore where viewers can download and read more than 1.8 million books on their mobile devices. Some schools have begun implementing iBooks to cut costs on outdated textbooks and to meet the requirements for the Common Core State Standards–a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn.
While there is little doubt that Jobs technology has profoundly impacted sharing and receiving information, how does this technology improve the way teachers teach and students learn?
How can teachers better engage their students by using Jobs presentation strategies?
The Hungarian-founded website Prezi (Prezi.com) may offer a solution.
Prezi is free cloud-based presentation software described as having “the biggest impact on business presentation tools since Microsoft’s PowerPoint.” Prezi resembles a virtual blackboard used by millions of educators and students worldwide, with more than 27 million users in more than 190 countries, including millions of teachers and students. The site’s achievements have been featured in prestigious publications including TIME, Forbes, and The New York Times.
“Rather than being stuck in a static slide, you can literally show the big picture, zoom in on the details, and then zoom back out again,” said Ashley Whitlatch, Prezi’s Education Evangelist and Student Ambassador Director. “The Prezi editor employs a common tool palette, allowing users to pan and zoom, and to size, rotate, or edit an object. The user places objects on a canvas and navigates between videos, images, texts and other presentation media. The beauty of Prezi is that it’s harder to explain it than to actually do it!”
Classrooms are increasingly using Prezi as an educational tool. Whitlatch shared its impact with a quote from Leticia Cavagnaro of Stanford University: “Prezi truly embodies what creativity is about: changing your perspective, connecting and combining ideas, thinking in non-linear ways, and creating in collaboration with others.” Whitlatch added: “Prezi isn’t just about making presentations; it’s about helping students, teachers, and parents become better thinkers and learners.”
Prezi seeks to revolutionize the educator-student learning experience through the following: