Last year I made a PowerPoint presentation in response to Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, ‘Slaughterhouse Five’. This was to introduce Grade 11 students to the concept of forming a key focus in response to a summer reading book.
I recently revisited the above presentation, which was saved on SlideShare and embedded in my school blog. Upon viewing it again I wryly reflected on the discrepancy between content and form: here I was, focusing on an author’s unconventional use of style and structure, without much thought to my own. Why take a linear approach to a novel which uses the very opposite structure?
So, after viewing the tutorials, signing up and having an evening of experimentation, here’s the change – from PowerPoint to Prezi:
I have yet to share the presentation with my students, so it will be interesting to see their reactions. My own analysis is that by reshaping the presentation, my choice of tool affected its content. By reconsidering the way in which I would present, I naturally sought to simplify, and thus changed its focus to be solely on Vonnegut’s unconventional structure. This then led to one of the most discussed parts of the novel, where he writes of a war movie that the protagonist sees in reverse. Appropriate to the filmic focus, Vonnegut creates a series of vivid images, all moving backwards. It therefore seemed apt to incorporate moving image corresponding to this. The flexibility of Prezi’s form allowed for much experimentation and creation; I uploaded self-created images and also used its search tool to add an image of stars and space.
So, perhaps not rethinking the design of my presentation within the framework of PowerPoint* but instead a rethinking of content and style in the unknown territory of Prezi. After laughing helplessly through Don McMillan’s Life After Death By PowerPoint, I hope he would approve.