Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday Tech Tip: Using Nearpod in the Classroom

Many teachers use a digital presentation in their classroom to help them keep students engaged, to keep themselves on track, and to incorporate technology into their instruction. While presentations can be a great way to share information with students they are mostly a one way tool; students don’t really interact with the presentation, and often times it is merely projected at the front of the room. Nearpod is a presentation tool that allows teachers to create a presentation and bring it to life by pushing it out to students and guiding their activity in real time. It involves the student in the presentation by having them interact with and submit responses on any device. The teacher can monitor and measure student results, which is something that can be difficult to keep track of when students are only participating verbally or sporadically in class.

The process is simple. Log in to Nearpod, go to your library, select the presentation you wish to share with students and launch a live session. A pin/access code will pop up and you’ll share it with your students. Once students join the session, you will advance the slides and take them through the presentation with you and give them the opportunity to interact with the embedded activities. Hooray!

To start with Nearpod, create your free account. (While Nearpod has other paid options, this post will only focus on the features included in the free version.) You can use the web app from any device, or download the app for iOS, Android, Windows, Nook, or Chrome. Once you’ve signed up, you have several options.
 My Library will take you to any presentations you have created and saved, once you have them of course.

  • Explore allows you to see other presentations that have been created and save them to your library, use them, or modify them.
  • Join directs you to enter a code to join a live presentation.
  • Create brings you to the presentation creation menu.
  • Reports give you access to session reports. They show aggregated data and student details. This can also be downloaded as a PDF to review offline.

Teachers have numerous options when it comes to creating a Nearpod presentation. When you start a presentation in create mode, it automatically provides you with a welcome slide and a thank you slide (both of which can be deleted). Adding content to your new presentation is fairly simple. You can create a slide from scratch, add a video, or import a slideshow, images or other content you've already created by pulling it from your drive, Dropbox, or access it on your computer.

The activities that teachers can add to their Nearpod presentation are shown left.

  • Open ended questions require students to type a response, which can also be shared with the whole class by the teacher.
  • A poll allows you to ask a question and give students several options to choose from. Teachers get immediate data as students select their answer.
  • Quizzes also give you immediate information about their performance. Images can be embedded in the question as can math functions. The only question type available at this time is multiple choice.
  • Draw it gives students the chance to draw a concept or an idea, or write a response. Drawings can also be shared with the rest of the class by the teacher.

Nearpod is an easy to use, free tool to help keep students engaged, track data/responses, and share information with students. Give it a try in your class, or in your next PLC/PLT meeting and let us know what you think!

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