Prezis at UAS and "Confronting the Waashdan Ḵwáan"

I discovered Prezi two and a half years ago, and I've very much enjoyed using it ever since, although I haven't been able to do so all that frequently. As of now I have created a total of ten prezis, but now for the first time I will share one on this blog.

Prezi is essentially an online presentation built on a boundless and interactive field, rather than the traditional PowerPoint slide. In fact, Prezi has so many advantages over PowerPoint in terms of its adaptability, ease of use, and "wow" factor that I can't understand why anyone would use PowerPoint ever again.

This summer I used Prezi for an assignment halfway through our summer session of classes at UAS Juneau. After that, it seems most of the people in the program used Prezi for their next assignments. I think I started a trend!

In any case, the following prezi was my third and final one created for the summer session, for my course on literacy in secondary schools. The assignment was to present a short thirty-minute lesson in our subject area using teaching strategies we had learned in the course.

Fort Tongass, c. 1869
Please follow this link to view my prezi "Confronting the Waashdan Ḵwáan." As you will see, the lesson concerns mid-nineteenth century Tlingit history, and it's based on the research I did for my senior thesis. I also placed all of my frames (or "slides") on top of a map of the nineteenth century Tlingit ḵwáan, a technique I quite enjoy, being the extreme cartophile that I am.

When it comes to education, though, making a fancy presentation doesn't ensure that students will learn. Students have to interact with stories, skills, and information in order for it to stay with them—and whatʼs more, the learning has to have meaning for them. Too many history teachers, I think, fail to convince or show students that history has an incredible depth of meaning for all of us; thatʼs why students end up being bored, and donʼt think the past matters when they become adults.

Tools like Prezi can help me make lessons more eye-catching, but ultimately itʼs the content and meaning of a story that stays with a person and moves them to learn more.