An article by Richard James Rogers (Author of The Quick Guide to Classroom Management and The Power of Praise: Empowering Students Through Positive Feedback).
One of my favorite apps to use for online learning is Nearpod. It’s fun to use, it’s free (but there is a very cool premium version if you want to really up your game) and it’s very effective.
If you’ve never made a Nearpod lesson before, then this video I made today talks you through the different steps (and shows you the amazing end-result!):
Where you can get it and use it: App Store, Google Play Store, Microsoft Store, Chrome Web store and on the web at Nearpod.com
Cool Feature #1: You create a slideshow on Nearpod. Your kids login with a code that Nearpod generates (they don’t need to sign up, which saves tons of time) and, boom!: the slideshow will play on every student’s device. When the teacher changes a slide, then the slide will change on the kids’ screens.
You can choose to show the slideshow on a front projector screen/smartboard, or simply walk around the class with your iPad or laptop as you’re instructing the kids.
Cool feature #2: Put polls, questions, quizzes, drawing tasks, videos, 3D objects, web links and audio segments into Nearpod presentations to make the experience fully ‘interactive’.
When I tested Nearpod at Harrow I thought it was super-cool because I could write an answer (as a student) and it would show on the front-screen as a sticky-note with everyone else’s. Chelsea Donaldson shows this excellent image of what I experienced over at her blog:
As you can see, other kids can click ‘like’ and can comment on the responses, making this an ultra-modern, ‘social-media’ style education tool.
Another feature I loved was ‘Draw it’. It’s similar to ‘collaborate’ (the feature above with the sticky-note answers), but this time the students either draw a picture or annotate a drawing you have shared.
I can see this being great for scientific diagrams and mathematical operations.
Students can use a stylus/Apple Pencil, their finger (if it’s a non-stylus tablet or phone they are using) or even a mouse to draw the picture. Once drawn, the pictures will show up on the teacher’s screen together, and this can be projected if the teacher wishes.
Cool feature 3: Virtual reality is embedded into Nearpod (and I need to learn a lot more about it!).
I don’t understand it fully yet, but Nearpod themselves say that over 450 ready-to-run VR lessons are ready on their platform, including college tours, mindfulness and meditation lessons and even tours of ancient China!
Now that sounds cool!
My thoughts about Nearpod
I like apps that are quick, useful and free/cheap to use.
Nearpod ticks all of those boxes.
The features that I tested which were super, super cool include:
- Kids log in with a code and your presentation appears on their screens. When you change a slide, the slide changes on their devices!
- You can put polls, drawing tasks and questions into your slides and it’s all fully interactive. Kids’ answers will appear on the projector screen for all to see (if you wish), or simply on the teacher’s screen (for private viewing).
I love this app and so do my students.
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