Update 24/1: Prezi today announced an educational licensing package – and a well priced one at that (Prezi blog post). Kudos to Prezi for both listening and responding to their end-users.
Update 7/1/10: Please don’t send Prezi any more emails! Read the comments for more details.
I’ve run into a little problem with using Prezi of late – and it doesn’t just relate to Prezi, but to a number of online tools.
The problem centres around licensing tools for individuals, at a set monthly or annual rate. Now while this would be fine if it was a personal subscription, or even if it was for a team of people in an office to share the account. It is, however, frustratingly difficult for teachers.
I’d quite like my students to be able to create accounts, make as many Prezis as they want and not have to pay $159 per student per year(!). I had a similar problem with Waybe(1), a plugin for Google Sketchup that lets you create 2D nets of 3D models that can then be printed. Because the idea is to install it one machine in an office, the pricing is pretty steep. To install it across the site we were quoted over £20k. Per year. And that’s with a bulk and educational discount.
I’m not suggesting that we should get these tools for free because we’re educators (although when people such as the team at Animoto and Glogster do offer that then I’m not going to complain!), but a sensible pricing policy that reflects the different needs of a school environment makes it much more likely that I’ll be able (let alone willing) to stump up the cash.
A particular problem with Prezi is that we are unable to upload any content from within school. Apparently this is to do with the flash uploader and the proxy server not getting along and I’m told that it can’t be helped. Thankfully I was able to use PreziDesktop with the free account – but alas no more. Now I need the full pro account. And if we want to let all of the students (1500) use it then that’ll be $238,500 or £150,000. Per year. And this problem is only set to increase as we make use of more and more online tools and technologies.
The solution? Well I intend to contact Prezi and put forward the case of the educator. I’m going to ask that they make a 4th type of account – an educational account. One that we might be charged a reasonable fee for. One that would allow us to use Prezi Desktop on multiple machines. One that would allow us to either create multiple (unlimited?) accounts – perhaps with a fair use policy. Or failing that, have them set up a number of accounts that we can ‘lend’ to students rather than them having an account each – or having to share one account between them.
What do you think? Is this a reasonable proposal? Are there any key features I need to include? If I/we knock up a standard email can we get a number of us to send it?
(1)Waybe did later offer me 2x 12 month trial licenses, but you really need the software installed when building your model in order to continually check that it ‘works’ as a 2D net – and I’m still not prepared to pay £20k.
Update 7/1/10: I added an email I had written to Prezi’s CEO and asked people to send a copy themselves to make sure Prezi realise how serious we are. The response was overwhelming and Prezi responded within a number of hours.
Here is a copy of the email I sent – but please DO NOT send any more copies as Prezi are well aware of the situation now. And a massive, massive thank you, both to all those who emailed Prezi and to Prezi themselves for responding both quickly and positively.
As an educator, Prezi is a really powerful tool and a great way to create exciting presentations. I also appreciate that there is a free, basic account that will let me create presentations without having to worry about the cost.
One problem I (and a number of other teachers) do have, however, is that due to proxy server issues I am not able to upload any content – a problem that was easily solved using the Prezi Desktop application. Since you have now limited this to just pro account users this means that in order to allow all of the staff and students at my school to make use of Prezi I would have to purchase 1600+ pro accounts, at a cost of over $250,000 per year or alternatively force users to share accounts which would lead to huge logistical problems.
While your licensing system seems fine for private or corporate users, it is not viable for educators who will have a large number of potential users who would provide relatively little load overall. My proposal is that you allow educational users to make use of the full pro account in the same way that Animoto offers free ‘all-access pass’ accounts.
This would surely create very little extra overhead as the desktop application is already written and the educational accounts would almost certainly not lead to any significant bandwidth or storage requirements over and above the equivalent number of free basic accounts. You would also be gaining a lot of users – users who will not be students forever and may well want to continue using the service once their educational accounts have come to an end.
I look forward to hearing from you.