I would be the first to admit that I am not the most tech savvy, but I continually try to keep my students and myself up-to-date with the use of technology. This year (and last year) I have introduced Prezi.com to my students. Prezi is free to educators and students with an educational institution email. Just make sure that you choose the tiny educator link below the main sign-up links. There are many benefits to using Prezi, in my opinion. First, it is a virtual map that is more flexible than power point, and I think that it allows students to interact with technology in a way that is intuitive for them. It also hosts the projects remotely, which is great because I don't have to worry about bogging down my school's website with large projects. It also allows for great creativity. My students continuously amaze me with their designs, colors, and choices. In my opinion, the biggest downside to using Prezi in the classroom is simply the added time that it takes for students (and me) to learn a new technology. However, because I believe in the importance of learning new technologies that time can be allowed.
For my Spanish II students' Prezi project, I am having them create a storyboard, or a summary with pictures that details the events of the reader that we have been reading (La gran aventura de Alejandro). For each chapter, the students are writing four sentences, in their own words, about what happened in the chapter, and they are adding pictures from the web to illustrate their projects. The students will present their Prezi as an oral presentation, when they have completed the book. Thus far, my students have responded extremely positively towards using the Prezi. They enjoy the ability to manipulate the images and create a unique project. In fact one student said that she was going to speak to her history teacher about doing her next project in Prezi- yay!
While the reader that we have is a bit outdated (published in 1991), a good aspect about the work is that each of the latter chapters focuses on a piece of cultural information from Spain. I take these pieces and update them through incorporating youtube videos and more up-to-date readings about the salient cultural information. Then, each of the students will investigate two of the cultural aspects from the book that interests them, and include a more in-depth look at these two elements in their Prezi's.
Overall, the response to this project has been quite positive, and my students are receiving excellent practice narrating a series of events in Spanish. Additionally, the Prezi storyboard allows me to quickly see who is understanding the assigned readings, and who is struggling with the material.
Do you or have you used Prezi in your Spanish projects? What are the biggest gains or drawbacks that you have noted?