Have you heard of Nearpod? It’s a revolutionary teaching tool that is taking classrooms by storm. I first heard about and saw it in use at an IB PYP workshop in Hong Kong about Digital Citizenship. The instructor chose to use something more interesting than powerpoint for the duration of the course: Nearpod.
It is an online interactive internet presentation tool that links the students directly with the learning through their personal digital devices including smartphones, tablets, and laptops on any platform. The instructor creates a rudimentary powerpoint-like presentation but then adds in links, maps, polls, refections, learning checks, quizzes, homework links and much more to make the learning authentic and tangible.
The instructor used the exact same presentation for the two day long course: he merely started at a slide in the middle after breaks. It would be great for an entire unit, especially in high school where students are more technologically savvy. A history teacher for example, can imbed a map, ask a question about the reason for a historical uprising at the beginning of a unit. Students have a minute or two to write a sentence through their own device and once they’re finished, responses are public and show up on the projected teacher’s screen for everyone in the class to see, and benefit from.
Likewise, this can be used in an elementary classroom in a similar way on a smaller scale. If the teacher plays a piece of music or reads a book, the students can reflect on how it made them feel. A classroom full of students logged on to iPads with the Nearpod application running in the same classroom entry code location, can easily participate in similar ways. Instead of asking young learners to respond using text, they can use the tablet to draw a picture about how they feel. Within a few minutes the teacher screen is full of community pictures relating to the lesson.
In addition to the text and picture responses, Nearpod has so many more functions. There’s a thumbs up thumbs down poll to check for understanding and graphs that show the results of small quizzes so the teacher (and class) can see how much understanding is happening.
It’s as easy to create as a powerpoint – definitely not complicated like Prezi, or creating a Powtoon, or even Glogster.
In any case, I highly recommend a look. The best part is that it hijacks all of the devices in your classroom and puts the lesson directly on them so students are forced to pay attention!