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Creating Interactive Maps with Prezi Increasing student engagement during library induction

Ned Potter, University of York (For the presentation which accompanies this, go to:

The basics of Prezi The basic principle of Prezi is to put objects on the canvas and link them together with a ‘path’. Your presentation will then consist of Prezi moving from object to object, zooming in on them in the order you’ve chosen. Objects can be text boxes, images, YouTube videos or graphics. You can write and structure your presentation exactly as you would a PowerPoint, or you can do something completely different, like a map. Just click on the canvas anywhere to start adding stuff. A typical process of creating a Prezi might consist of these stages: 1. Plan the structure and outline of the presentation 2. Add the text, plus any images / videos etc 3. Move them around and arrange them in a coherent order on the canvas 4. Plot the path between them in the order you want to use 5. Click ‘Show’ and watch the presentation back, then refine it if you need to For more comprehensive Prezi guidance, go to


The interactive map The process for making an interactive map is slightly different, although some stages are the same. 1. Upload the map-outline image, and then make it absolutely huge – stretch it across the canvas 2. Plan which areas of the map are going to be populated and with what information. A minimalist approach might work well, so students can really focus on key areas – or you can pack in absolutely everything they might need to know, but only highlight some of it when you’re presenting 3. Add the text, plus any images / videos etc 4. Move them around and arrange them in a coherent order on the canvas 5. Plot the path between them in the order you want to use. Remember it doesn’t have to just run through the map in ‘geographical’ order – the first 10 path-points could be the most important stuff, then if the viewer wants to carry on the remainder could take them all round the library 6. Click ‘Show’ and watch the presentation back, then refine it if you need to


The basic functions on Prezi:

The +Add button is a shortcut which brings up frames and boxes for text to go in. In the bottom-right-hand corner of the screen in Edit mode, there is a Show button – this maximises the Prezi to full-screen and allows you to ‘watch’ the presentation as it will appear when in View mode.


Inputting Text on Prezi:

Previously you had to stick to the font colours chosen using the Colours and Fonts section, but now you can edit the colour of any bit of text using the colour box:


Manipulating objects on Prezi:


PRACTICAL EXERCISE: So to actually make a map… 

First, go to (case sensitive) to access a Prezi that has been made copyable, so you can copy it to your own Prezi account. (If you’ve not yet set up a Prezi account, get that done sharpish!) Click Make a copy – bottom-left hand corner under the presentation itself

Choose the map you want – one is really basic, one is very complicated (with a lot of rooms already named, so more of the work is done for you but you get less choice) and there are a few which fall somewhere between the two


Click on the other maps to select them, and then press delete to get rid of them. Do the same with the circular frame and the word MAPS. You want to end up with just your choice of map, and the STUFF circle of resources too. Then select and strreeeeetch the remaining map so it becomes much, much bigger

The other option is to make a multi-floor map, with a different plan for each floor – in which case, you can right click on the map you like, copy and paste a 2nd version to be populated with different objects later

The Colours & Fonts button allows loads of different pre-set themes, but keep in mind for the layering process of a map to work well, you’re really going to need a white background

You’re ready to go! Either drag and drop items from the STUFF circular frame or upload your own images from the web, and click anywhere to write on the canvas

Photos of the areas the map covers make the presentation a lot more attractive than just text

Remember: use Hidden Frames to control what the viewer sees – for example, draw a hidden frame around a room, and then the viewer can click on the room to zoom in on it – it becomes an interactive hotspot.

Build your map up, and leave 7 or 8 minutes at the end to add a path and test it out. Good luck!


Final Prezi tips:  Hidden Frames are the key to a really good Prezi. They allow you to make any area of the Prezi a clickable area to zoom in on (rather than having to rely on zooming in on a specific object) and they allow you to display text and image together in one view. Normal frames (rather than hidden frames) accomaplish the same thing, but it often looks better when hidden frames are used. To put in a Hidden Frame, go to Frames and then Hidden, then use the mouse to draw the box in the size you want. You can always adjust it afterwards by clicking on it and dragging the edges.

 Perhaps the most important aspect of creating a Prezi is avoiding motionsickness in the viewer – if the presentation lurches about in such a way as to make people feel ill, it doesn’t matter how amazing the content is. Position items sympathetically (so the view moves logically, from left-to-right or top-tobottom) and move between them evenly; avoid an over-reliance on dramatic swoops and only change perspective and swing round the bare minimum of times. Also, pace your Prezi much like you would a PowerPoint –


lingering on each screen for a little while is a good way to ensure the presentation doesn’t whizz around too much.  You can actually print Prezis, but you need to consider this during the design process if that’s your intention. Next to the Save and Exit options in Edit move is a Print option – this saves your Prezi as a PDF, and each point on the path is a page of the PDF. So if you want to provide a handout, you could do so via this method – clearly it would work better with about 10 key points on the path than with 50 or more! You can set the path to be print friendly, print the hand-outs, and then change the path to be cover more detail for the actual presentation afterwards.  You can save Prezis to a memory stick even without the Pro subscription. I’d recommend doing this for all presentations, so you’re not reliant on the internet working and Prezi being okay (it does go down occasionally). Presenting is better using the online version where possible though, if you have links or dynamic content like embedded YouTube videos.


A quick word on using Issuu to make online booklets like these... Creating an online booklet doesn’t take much time and serves some useful functions – it allows students to actually click on links when working (as opposed to copying them into their browser from a paper work-book), they can be put in the VLE (or wherever) for students who couldn’t make an info-lit session in person, and they can be embedded in LibGuides or subject pages as an alternative to providing a list of downloadble PDFs. (They can also be saved and printed by students if they want to.) Tips for making an online notebook:  Create the document in Word and then save it as a PDF before uploading it to  You can take your usual printable workbooks as a starting point but keep in mind you don’t need to be limited by printable margins, allowing for full-page images (which look very good on the cover) and headers / footers which go all the way to the edge across a two-page spread  The minimum font-size should be 14. This is the most common issue with Issuu documents – users hate having to zoom in to actually be able to read, which they do with size 12 fonts and below. The entire thing should be readable as it first appears on screen  You can set access to ‘Private’ so just people know the URL can find the document. This can be useful if you’re using similar workbooks for more than one department and don’t want students from one department being able to see the workbook from another  Even when set to private you’ll have to choose at least 3 keywords. Choose your keywords carefully as, unless your institution upgrades to a paid Issuu account, related documents will display down the right-hand side of the screen when people are viewing the workbook: the types of magazines / journals displayed will be matched according to your keywords.


Follow up queries etc: Feel free to email me: I’m on Twitter: @theREALwikiman. Plus there’s more Prezi advice on my website


Creating interactive maps with Prezi