Nearpod is an interactive presentation and assessment tool that can be used to amazing effect in the classroom. The app’s concept is simple. A teacher can create presentations that can contain Quiz’s, Polls, Videos, Images, Drawing-Boards, Web Content and so on. The children can access a teacher’s presentation through a code. It is up to the teacher to then move the class through the presentation and let them interact with the media as they go.
The app is ‘web based’ and is accessible on a ‘log in’ basis. This means that you can access your Nearpod account through any device that connects to the internet. The nice thing about this is that you can run and, more importantly, create your presentations on a computer. In this case, the iPad is just the tool to deliver your Nearpod creations with. Ultimately, the real beauty of this app is that it enables you to connect with your students (digitally that is). This connection and the flexible nature of Nearpod means that it can be used in many different creative and innovative ways. Below are just ten ways of utilising this multifaceted tool.
1) Simple Presentation Delivery
2) Personalised Provision
Following on from the idea of using Nearpod as a simple presentation tool, you could isolate the use of the app to one child or a small group. It could be that you are beaming extra teaching provisions to particular pupils during a starter. This could be the missing link that provides more support for a child with visual impairments. It could provide that extra bit of help for a low attainer in your class.
3) Distributing Resources
Using the app to distribute resources is another simple way of using it in the classroom. You could fill your presentation with images or worksheets and ask the children to save the resources by taking screenshots. This will automatically save the shots to the iPad’s camera roll. The children can then use the images within other apps or simply keep them at hand as teaching and learning references. It’s just a simple way of connecting to your class’ iPads.
4) Live and Formative Assessment
5) Ongoing Assessment
6) Self Assessment
It is common practice in Primary and Secondary schools for children to assess themselves and evaluate their own confidence levels. This is usually achieved through a traffic light system that children are encouraged to draw in their workbooks. Red indicates a poor confidence level, amber indicates a fair understanding and green indicates a very good understanding of any given learning topic. Nearpod contains the option of inserting a ‘Poll’. In this situation, children’s opinions are questioned. This makes the ‘Polling’ tool a perfect feature to use when ‘traffic lighting’ in the classroom. The information is then saved in the aforementioned reports!
The app also has a feature called ‘Draw It’ that can be built into your presentations. This beams an interactive whiteboard to the children’s devices. The teacher’s iPad will display all of the children’s ‘drawings’ when they have finished and submitted them. The teacher can then ‘share’ individual whiteboards with the entire class. Hitting share will cause the chosen ‘drawing’ to appear on every iPad. This enables teachers to share good work and model good progressions.
8) Open-Ended Tasks
9) Setting Homework
All of the above examples revolve around the idea of using Nearpod in a ‘Live Session’. Children can also engage with the presentations in their own time. You can provide a ‘Homework’ code to the children and they can access a pre-made presentation at home. Again, this feature is built into the app. It’s worth remembering as well that Nearpod is ‘web-based’ and therefore, the children go on Nearpod.com and complete the homework on their home computer or even any smartphone.
10) Sharing and using pre-made resources
Nearpod is one of the many essential iPad apps that I would recommend to any teacher. The customisable nature of the app means that it can be applied to any age range and teaching context. It requires you to put some work in before you teach the lesson. However, it makes up for it by saving you stacks of time after the lesson through its clever report generator. Many teachers have concerns about using an iPad in the classroom for the first time. Delivering a Nearpod presentation is a nice way of easing a concerned teacher into the world of iPadding. It’s as useful as it is simple to use. I’m sure you’ll find more than ten ways of using it to amazing effect.
Nick Acton is an Apple Curriculum Specialist at JTRS as well as being a part-time Computing and Music teacher. Through the creation of bespoke training, Nick specialises in empowering educators so they can embed Apple technologies into their day-to-day classroom practice.