Narratives and teaching
Robin Sutherland-Harris and I were co-facilitators of a TATP workshop today. The workshop challenged TAs to convey a narrative (or a story) in a lesson for their students. One of the foundational assumptions of the workshop was that narrative is a part of everyday life, including classroom life. In the words of Abbott in The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative (2008), “We are all narrators” (p. xii)
As part of the workshop, we introduced Prezi as a platform for the TAs to build their narratives for classroom use. According to the Prezi website, Prezi is software which exists in the cloud. It is something between “whiteboards and slides” and features a “zoomable canvas” where you can “explore ideas and the connections between them.” TAs, faculty and staff at U of T may be interested to know that they can sign up for educational accounts at Prezi if they are interested in exploring this zooming interface for classroom presentations.
We found a number of great Prezi exemplars online that we showed during the workshop to try to get the creative juices flowing. To begin, we were very inspired by the big picture timeline provided by the Great Jazz Bassists and their Influence through the Ages Prezi. We also felt that a presentation on the Physical Geography in Africa was great for demonstrating how you can hone in on concepts (or geographic features) in Prezi by using the zooming features.