Today I showed my 5th grade class the Prezi web site and a few sample presentations. They’re working on an independent study free-choice project, and I was offering possibilities for incorporating media into their final presentations. But I don’t know how to use Prezi. Never attempted it. Have no idea of the structure, layout, capabilities. Nothing.
We did a fairly quick walk through the Future Proof Your Education prezi by Maria Anderson. The kids were impressed. They wanted to do Prezi. But I don’t know Prezi.
When we had some time at the end of the day, I suggested they go to Prezi. They got to the site and asked what to do. I told them to read and see what they needed to do. One student said, “We need to create an account.” So they tried to create accounts. Some were successful; some weren’t. They asked me what they had to do. I told them that I didn’t really know. They continued to press forward.
Some needed some help with their e-mail addresses. I told them their addresses were student_id at ourschooldistrict.org. They tried it, and it didn’t work. They tried again, and it didn’t work. They asked again. I wrote on the board “firstname.lastname@example.org.” I heard and excited response, “That’s what we’re doing wrong!. We got it now.” They didn’t know “at” meant “@.”
They got on, and repeatedly I heard, “What do I do now? How do I create a Prezi?” I didn’t know. I told them again, “I don’t know. I’ve never done a Prezi.” So they explored on their own. They found the button to create a new Prezi, and in a few minutes they were all messing around with it.
By not knowing Prezi, I found it much easier to let them struggle to figure things out by themselves. Although I could have gone through the process with them and figured out the answers much more quickly than they did, I didn’t feel compelled to. After all, we were on even ground with Prezi, and they were the ones who wanted to use it. And they figured it out.
As it turns out, they really like Prezi. I guess I’ll have to learn it, too. If I do learn it, I need to remember my lesson learned today. They can learn on their own when motivated; they can even learn things I don’t know. Imagine that.