Slide into Presentations

Welcome to Slide into Presentations!  Librarians are often called upon to develop presentations for their fellow library staff or as a means to teach or demonstrate procedures to library patrons, such as how to download eBooks from the library.  In this module we will explore two online tools specifically designed to aid the development of your presentations and add some pizzazz to your online demonstrations.

There are many presentation tools available on the Web today, but the two we have chosen to introduce here, Prezi and Screenr, were selected because they are free to use and do not require any software to be downloaded to your computer.  You will be asked to create a brief presentation on a subject of your choice for this module, using either Prezi or Screenr, and if you feel comfortable doing so, share it on this week’s blog post.  The choice is yours – you can complete the activities listed under Option One – Prezi or Option Two – Screenr, but if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, or simple want to explore and play with both of these tools, please feel free to create two presentations and share them both with us if you chose.  Let’s get started with the first presentation tool – Prezi!

What is Prezi?

Prezi is a dynamic presentation and collaboration tool.  It can be used instead of PowerPoint to jazz up a presentation, or used as an infinite bulletin board for collaborators to work together to compile ideas, images, and other media.

Check out this video for a quick overview on the elements of a Prezi.

What can Prezi do for you?

Prezi is a great way to create a mind map, since adjusting the size of elements can reflect importance.  You can also group ideas together with frames and easily have others contribute.  It is also a powerful presentation tool that can be used as a library tour, program announcement, or subject guide.  If you’re bored with traditional presentation tools (like PowerPoint), Prezi is a way to spice up a meeting.

Who is using Prezi?

Here’s an example of the Lynnwood Library using a Prezi to present a summer reading program to teens.

Here’s an example of the Denton Public Library’s presentation to scouting groups on genealogy.

Is Prezi for you?

If Prezi doesn’t suit your presentation needs just skip down to the Screenr portion of this module, but if you are interested in exploring this tool it’s important to view this introductory video tutorial for more detailed specifics on using Prezi functions.

On November 1, 2012, an update to Prezi was instituted.  The Prezi “wheel” was replaced with a header menu and a few advanced features were added.  Unfortunately, Prezi has not yet updated its introductory tutorial to reflect this update, but you can find an outline of these new changes in the video below.

It may seem a bit daunting at first, but once you jump in and start playing with all the different elements in Prezi you’ll find it gets much easier the more you practice and experiment.

Option One – Prezi

Activity #1: Create a prezi. Sign up for a free Prezi account at by clicking the Sign up button and choose the free “Public” option by clicking Start Now. Then complete the registration form providing you name, email address and password (Note: Your email address will become you username in Prezi).

Once you are registered you can begin creating a prezi by clicking the New prezi box in the “Your Prezis” page.  (If you’re not quite ready to jump in you can view some of the Prezi tutorial videos by clicking the Learn tab on the page header.  Along with the “Getting Started” video you viewed earlier, you can learn about using frames and groupings in your prezi, get instructions on sharing your prezi, and view how to “Prezify” your Power Point slides.  There is also a link to the full Prezi manual and highly informative cheat sheets for each video tutorial.)

Create a prezi – chose any topic you wish and include some text, add an image or two (or a short video), try the zoom feature on one included item, and create the path your presentation will follow.  The point of this activity is to introduce you to the tool and familiarize you with some of its basic features – so keep it simple!
When you complete your prezi you can view it using the Present button at the top left and click through the presentation using the forward arrow.  Clicking Exit will automatically save your prezi.

Activity #2: Reflection blog post. Write your week 5 blog post and tell us about your experience exploring Prezi.  Was creating a presentation with this tool harder or easier than you imagined?  Do you see yourself using Prezi in the future, and if so, what sort of presentations might benefit from the use of this tool?  Will you take time to explore some of Prezi’s “fancier” features in the future?

If you chose, share your prezi in your blog post…we’d love to see it!  You can supply this link by clicking the Share button on your prezi and copying the URL address provided.  Then paste this address into your blog post using the “link” icon.  If you are unfamiliar with using the link feature in WordPress, please see this tutorial.  Unfortunately WordPress disallows the use of embed code to place your prezi directly in the post.

Activity #3: Respond. Read about the presentation experiences of others in the program on their blog posts and comment or post a question on at least one of your fellow participants blogs.

What it Screenr?

Screenr is a simple to use Web-based screencasting tool that allows you to record a video presentation (up to five minutes in length), along with accompanying narration, of an activity or process occurring on your computer screen.  It is specifically designed for instantaneous sharing on Twitter, but your screencast can also be easily shared on Facebook and YouTube, downloaded to a .mp4 file, or embedded on a website.

This quick video will show you just how effortless it is to create a screencast using Screenr.

What can Screenr do for you?

Screenr provides a great means to instruct your users with step-by-step procedures for any online process you wish to demonstrate.  It can be used to show your library patrons how to navigate your website, how to use the library catalog, how to reserve titles from the catalog, how to access and search the library’s databases, how to sign-up for library programs and events, or how to download eBooks.  Just about anything that can be demonstrated face-to-face with your users at one of the library’s computers can be turned into a video tutorial that can be accessed online anywhere, at anytime.

Who is using Screenr?

Here’s an example from the Cary Memorial Library on how to find and reserve eBooks.

Here’s an example of a Screenr video on finding the next book in a series from the Whistler Public Library.

Want to give Screenr a try?

If you’ve chosen to create a screencast as the optional activity for this module you’ll first need to decide on a website and procedure you wish to demonstrate, and open to that beginning web page in a separate window on your computer. If this is your first time creating a screencast, chose something short and simple to demonstrate.  You will also need a microphone installed or plugged into your computer in order to record your video narration.  Screenr uses a Java plug-in to publish your screencast and checks for its availability prior to beginning the recording process.  If you do not already have Java installed on your computer, you will be invited to download the free software before recording your screencast.

Option Two – Screenr

Activity #1 – Create a screencast with Screenr. Go to and watch the quick tutorial video once again if needed. When you’re ready to begin click the Record button on the header and wait for the recording frame and “How to record” instructions to appear on your screen.  (Note:  Screenr will not ask you to set up a login account prior to recording your first screencast.  This information will be requested when you Publish your screencast and will enable Screenr to save your recordings on the site.)

Click back to the separate window containing the beginning web page you wish to record (the recording frame will follow you), and move and resize the frame to the portion of the page you wish to capture in your screencast.

If you haven’t already done so, plug in your microphone and click the microphone icon just to the right of the red record button on the bottom left of the frame to specific your microphone type.  (Note: You can record a screencast without audio narration by clicking the “No Audio Recording” option.)

When you are all set to begin recording, click the red button on the left of the frame.  A three second countdown will flash on your screen and recording will begin immediately after Go! appears.  Record your presentation and note that you can pause the recording anytime by clicking the pause button at the bottom left.  Screenr provides for five minutes of recording time and will automatically stop recording if you exceed that time limit.

When complete, click the green Done button and you will be automatically redirected to Screenr to publish the recording.  Enter a description of your screencast in the box provided and click the blue Publish! button at the bottom left, or if you are unhappy with your recording you can delete it by clicking the “Delete screencast” field to the right.  As previously mentioned, you will be asked for your login account information at this time.

A window containing your screencast will be provided for viewing.  Please note all the different means for sharing you screencast available on the right.

Activity #2 – Reflection blog post. Compose your blog post for this week and tell us about your experience using Screenr.  What difficulties, if any, did you encounter in the use of this tool?  Do you have any particular online demonstrations planned in the future where you might use this tool?  Do you think the provision of video demonstrations for library patrons is an effective instructional medium?  Why, or why not?

Share your screencast with us in this week’s blog post, if you wish…and we hope you do!  You can supply this link by clicking the Share button on your screencast and copying the URL address provided.  Then paste this address into your blog post using the “link” icon.  If you are unfamiliar with using the link feature in WordPress, please see this tutorial.  Unfortunately WordPress disallows the use of embed code to place your screencast directly in the post.

Activity #3 – Respond. Read about the presentation experiences of others in the program on their blog posts and comment or post a question on at least one of your fellow participants blogs.

Some Final Thoughts…

Whichever tool you chose to explore this week, congratulations on creating your presentation!  It may have already occurred to you as a possibility, but it should be mentioned that these two tools, Prezi and Screenr, could be use in conjunction to produce a “Prezi Screencast”.  You would start by developing a presentation in Prezi, then record that presentation with Screenr as you click through your prezi frames, adding narration as you go.  You could likewise use Screenr to create a video recording of a PowerPoint slide presentation.

As mentioned in this week’s blog post, here are some useful articles on designing and executing effective presentations.

This Learning 2.0 module was originally designed and implemented by students in Dr. Michael Stephens‘ Transformative Literacies class in the Fall of 2012.  This class is part of San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science curriculum. It was authored by Jan Oliver for Public Library Group 1. It is available for use for other libraries or institutions.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


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