“Survey says!” Using Nearpod to Engage All Students (and keep them accountable)
Type of Technology: Nearpod, available on the web and as an app
SAMR Rating (Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition): Modification
Grade Level: Upper elementary through high school
Cost: Free (with limited storage 10 mb), approx. $100.00 per teacher for school or district edition (allows more storage space & numbers of simultaneous users)
Technology Set-Up: Wi-Fi, smart phones, iPads and/or laptops (for classroom use) or campus computer lab.
Nearpod is a free app teachers can use to engage all students in a content-driven activity. It combines Keynote/Powerpoint presentation slides with interactive “clicker”-style student response options. Nearpod.com provides ready-made, purchasable presentations on a wide variety of topics useful for multiple disciplines. Better still, Nearpod allows teachers to tailor the content and activities (polls, quizzes, open-ended responses…) to our students’ needs.
Getting started with a Live Session
- Nearpod keeps all students accountable. You can intersperse activities for students to do–in the moment–throughout the lesson. Rather than calling on one student at a time as we do in whole-classroom discussion, every student is expected to respond.
- Teachers can quickly assess student understanding of content.
- Students enjoy the interactive quality of Nearpod lessons. They learn through the activities or reinforce their understanding through their participation.
- Nearpod provides reports that enable you to analyze student responses collectively and individually. It’s possible to assign a grade for their participation.
- Live Nearpod sessions are teacher-timed. Once they login, students cannot divert their attention to another online activity. Students see only what the teacher wants students to see at any given moment.
- Assigning a Homework Nearpod session, though, allows students to self-pace through the lesson.
- Students can use their own smart phones/iPad or school cart of iPads to access Nearpod, or they can access the lesson via computer lab, desk, and laptops via the online site: Nearpod.com
- Student pairs can work through a Nearpod lesson together, sharing a device or computer so there are enough to go around, and so that they build learning through oral language exchanges and cooperative problem solving.
Learning from experience: Here are my tips–
- Keep it simple: a short and sweet presentation that can be completed within the class period is ideal. It is possible to resume a lesson not quite finished the day before, but it’s better to create an interactive that is do-able within period, considering time to set up and take down (i.e., distributing devices–laptops, iPads–signing in, logging out, collecting and checking in devices).
- Keep it interactive: It’s better to utitlize this app to engage students in learning the materials, rather than as a presentation device. Err on the side of polls, quizzes, open-ended questions, and draw activities that you can sprinkle across your own separate Keynote, Prezi, or Powerpoint presentation.
- Allow for “wait time” during “Live Sessions”: Open-ended (free response) and draw activities take think time. Expect and build into your lesson plan time for students to process and respond. Don’t expect students to complete activities at the same speed. That said, sometimes you may need to move on before those last couple of students are finished. Options: offer the same presentation as a self-guided homework assignment; allow students to offer their responses orally at the end of class; generate activities that can be achieved within a reasonable amount of time.
- There are sometimes glitches (e.g., student’s screen doesn’t change when the teacher advances to another slide or activity. Usually, this is solved by having the student exit the lesson and login again with the same PIN number.
- If you have big files (images, PowerPoints), the free app may not allot you sufficient space.*
- The Nearpod app has to be synced on the classroom cart of iPads and updated regularly for it to function well.
*Free app vs. purchasing school or district edition:
Purchasing a school or district edition of Nearpod enables teachers to create Nearpod activities with larger files, but the free edition may be sufficient for your needs, particularly when using the interactive elements in a “Live Session” in class, rather than relying on it primarily to present content. In other words, you can save space by presenting a separate Prezi/Keynote/Powerpoint on your Apple TV while simultaneously running Nearpod for student responses on a different computer or device.
Scoring Rubric on EDU2.0/NEO