Saturday, 24 September 2011

Thing 17 - Prezi

Oh. My. God. Yes, those were my actual words when I first got a look at what Prezi could do to my presentations. What. A. Tool. Okay, now I'll stop writing like that, I promise. But be prepared - this post is going to be pretty enthusiastic....

So it's no surprise if I say that until I read about Thing 17, I had never heard of Prezi in my life. Never knew such a thing existed. To me, Powerpoint has its place - like Ange says, it's important not to get too caught up in it and become a bit too involved with jazzy fonts and fading in and out etc, but there's no harm in getting the very key points of your presentation up there, just to give the audience an overview of what you are going to elaborate on. I mostly use Powerpoint at work for some of my trainee training presentations, and sometimes if I am doing a team training session (the seniors/managers all take turns in our team meetings at talking about one of our more 'specialist' areas of legal research etc). Other than that, there isn't much call for it in my particular role.

At work whenever we do a presentation, we are obliged to use a firm template, which means that each slide has our colour scheme and firm logo on it. Obviously something like Prezi is a world away from that, and for that reason I guess I do have the slight concern that while to all intents and purposes, Prezi is the obvious next step for all Powerpoint users, at the same time I wonder how well the 'look' of Prezi would go down with some of our lawyers!

That aside, I cannot stress enough how much I loved playing around with Prezi. I just signed up for the online, free basic sub, and after watching a 6 minute tutorial, started just messing about and getting a feel for it. The thing that strikes me most is just how amazing it looks - if I were to present to the trainees using even half of the Prezi functionality, I am sure I would definitely retain their attention just a bit longer. Funky diagrams and text could even make Statute law training a little bit more enthralling!

I also love the fact that you can embed videos, filed, photos etc on your screen. Now THAT is pretty amazing. I tried just including a Brandon Flowers video on mine - so easy, all you do is insert the URL and bingo! The YouTube video is on your screen as part of your canvas. I love the way you can reposition everything as well and at any angle, anywhere on the screen.

The one thing I didn't like quite so much was using the pathway functionality. It was probably just me being a bit slow, but I had to go and re-watch that but of the tutorial in order to understand how to use it, and even then I didn't really like it. But that's just a minor, personal gripe. Otherwise - how can this NOT be the future of presentations?!! Showed my practise one to Mr Law_Lib_Extraordinaire and he was suitably impressed!

On the other hand, however,  I have to admit I was not feeling the love for the second part of this week's Thing - or at least, the suggestion that a virtual CV could be the future of CVs! Can I just say one last time Oh. My. God. I mean, really? REALLY?!?!?

It was one of the most tacky, cliched, cheesy etc etc things I have ever had the misfortune of watching. If my manager received a CV in that format she would have a blue fit. In fact, if I received a CV in that format, I would first of all laugh myself silly, and secondly, question the candidate's mental health. Sorry, but I don't quite see that kind of thing going down well in a law firm. Maybe one day - but let's hope it's not until I have retired!

As for Slideshare - well, I don't really feel the need to use it myself, but I have to say it has often come in handy to me when I am perhaps looking for information on a particular individual for one of our fee-earners. If they have done a presentation at a conference, for example, to be able to send the fee-earner a link to the actual slides. Great insight for them into what the target individual specialises in etc. So while there's not really any need for me to use it in the law library, I am all for people using it in general as there can be some really useful stuff on there.

In closing, I will just add that while I am all for Prezi, I do admit that just like Powerpoint, with so much amazing functionality at your fingertips, you could get waaaaay too caught up with making your canvas as jazzy and glitzy as possible, that you do quite literally blind your audience by science. I think moderation is definitely the key...

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