Sunday, February 6, 2011

Maria Andersen -- Prezi master

Maria makes wonderful use of Prezi as an engaging presentation tool. (Note to self -- she doesn't do her own artwork. Don't be so hard on yourself!) I found this one here in her blog, Teaching College Math. That blog name is something of a misnomer because there are wonderful ideas there for all levels of math teaching and this one abpout future-proofing your education speaks to all educators.

I have two observations. The first is about Prezi. It seems at first to be a tool that affords people the opportunity to explore non-sequentially, but the more I look at it, the less I think this is the case. Yes, if you have a great illustration to work within, you can get a visual big picture that complements the thoughts, but the viewing pathway is really established by the creator. The viewer goes along for the ride.

The second is about Maria's ontent. I think a great way to begin any class would be to set up something like this as a way to measure progress and keep teacher and students together constantly assessing how well they are doing. The more deliberately we measure ourselves and our work against a series of sign posts, the more we'll internalise the message, appreciate the value of our education, and take on the responsibility for ensuring our education has no 'best by' date.

It's also interesting to note that none of her suggestions require radical changes to what we've been doing for a long time in most classes -- with the possible exception of math especially at the secondary level. Here's a summary of the Prezi list quoted from her blog post with the same title:
  • ANALYZE … think critically, interpret data, predict, solve problems, make decisions, scrutinize information sources
  • EXPLAIN … convey ideas in writing, depict data visually, speak so that others understand, present ideas digitally
  • FOCUS … observe critically, read with understanding, be self-directed, listen carefully, set and meet goals
  • EXPLAIN … convey ideas in writing, depict data visually, speak so that others understand, present ideas digitally
  • LEARN…find information quickly, reflect and evaluate learning, manage information, leverage tech to learn, metacognitive
  • INTERACT … guide others, lead, collaborate, advocate and influence, resolve conflict and negotiate, share
  • FLEX … be able to adapt, be creative, innovate, think across disciplines and cultures, design/usability

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