Guest Post: Why I Chose Prezi for Creating My Library Status Report
This is my first year at Mira Costa High School, following seven years as a middle school librarian, and a year in the classroom last year. That hiatus year gave me time to rethink all my previous library practices, gather a whole hoard of new ideas to use when I could return to a school library and begin a fresh start. I’ve never been keen on writing status reports, since I hate the process of gathering statistics, and I have always been dubious of how many people ever read the reports I wrote. I am definitely convinced that the longer the reports, the less they were read. When it came time to write one for Mira Costa, I reviewed a number of reports I had seen in the past and I went through the great ideas at http://schoollibrarywebsites.wikispaces.com/Reports. One point I have noticed is that while all these reports seem to include some numbers, I liked the idea of emphasizing programs and de-emphasizing numbers. I saw a lot of good format and content ideas I considered borrowing, but ended up going with Prezi.com for the format for several reasons:
- I’ve enjoyed using Prezi for several presentations in the last few months, and have a goal of becoming more expert in it before I give a session about it at CUE in March. (Nothing like an upcoming presentation to drive my own professional development!)
- Since Prezi is still a relatively new tool, it seems to get a nice pizzaz reaction from viewers for its fresh interface.
- Prezi offers flexibility – Viewers can go straight through the defined “path” for the presentation, or can move around anywhere they like on the “canvas” to explore out of a defined order.
The biggest reason for my decision though, was that I always have trouble editing down content; I always want to include everything, even though I know that the more I write, the less will be read. Prezi offered me the ability to set up a fairly brief presentation on a path, but to let people explore or “drill-down” links, fuller text, and more if they so chose as they go along.
Here are links to the two status reports I have created so far:
I am actually happier with the first one, I think, because I did a better job of really implementing the “drill-down” approach. I have also considered trying a different medium for each report, so that to offer variety in each one and experiment with using the great libguides used by Creekview HS, Animoto, Glogster, and more. There’s something, though, to be said for consistency, at least for this year. I’ll see how the spirit moves me when I do the next one at the end of February or March.
Jane Lofton has been the teacher librarian at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, California, since August 2010. Prior to that, she was a middle school teacher librarian and classroom teacher at Lindero Canyon Middle School in Agoura Hills, CA, following earlier careers as a public librarian and technical writer. Jane earned her B.A. at Stanford University and her M.A. and M.L.S. at the University of Toronto. She is currently Past President of California School Library Association (CSLA), Southern Section, and also served CSLA as 2009 Annual Conference Chair and received CSLA’s 2009 Technology Award. She loves the kids, the books, technology, & Web 2.0 tools. You can visit her personal blog at http://www.tlintheclassroom.blogspot.com and follow her on Twitter.