I have a wonderful problem…too many resources. Everyone is always offering me a book, article, activity, website, idea, app, etc. It is a wonderful problem but it can be overwhelming. By the way, please don’t stop offering me resources! I am so fortunate to be connected to many great educators who are so open and willing to share. I want to focus on one application I started using this year called Nearpod.
Nearpod has been around for a number of years, and it was one of those things that I would hear whispers about now and again. My wife (who is a secondary science teacher) brought it up one evening while we were discussing assessment (this is what happens when you’ve exhausted the Netflix catalogue I think). I decided to jump in and try it.
Their tag line is:
Create, Engage, Assess through Mobile Devices.
The app was easy to set up, registering my e-mail and creating a password. The format is user friendly and only required a couple clicks to navigate around the main idea of the app. I created my own Nearpod (you can also access free lessons or paid ones created by other teachers) to use with my grade 2/3 students in math.
My students always love when the iPads come out, and I love trying new things with them… they are always up for it. Students used the app (you can also log in from a computer or smartphone) and entered the lesson code (generated once you activate the lesson from your device). There are two options, and I went with the live option. This option allows me to control my student’s iPad screen once they sign in (after entering the code and typing their nickname). The other option allows students to move throughout the lesson at their own pace.
My favourite type of question is the “Draw It” feature. I can ask a question and include a picture. Students then are able to respond to the question by accessing a variety of tools that include:
-typing (you can access the microphone and have talk-to-text as well)
-photographs (take a picture with the iPad or access the camera role)
As students are submitting their responses I am able to see in real time their work. I invite all students to submit their response and then the discussion begins. I have the ability to look at all the responses and then share one. By tapping a button I can push out a student’s work to everyone’s iPad. Students love having their work shared (the ones who normally don’t like talking out are usually the ones to request this first).
Following the lesson the data collected is immediately filed into my reports (found on the home screen). This provides me with a detailed account of each lesson, the time it was used, and the number of students (this proved handy when I showcased Nearpod at a recent PD and I was able to separate my student work from other teachers and principals). Nearpod can be used for all stages of assessment. They offer a variety of lesson styles (you can combine one or all into one less). I have started to use it during conferences with students and interviews with parents.
It is a great way to showcase to parents their child’s thinking and application of knowledge. Nearpod allows students to communicate this through a variety of tools. I have enjoyed it so much that I have applied to be a Pioneer, a representative of sorts. My free trial has expired (it lasted 3 months), and I will be purchasing the membership.
Give yourself a few lessons to find what works for you and your students. My colleagues enjoy the content that is available for free, I personally like creating my own lessons…even if it takes a little bit more time. I have posted below some of the features you can do when making your own lessons.
-Draw it (the one I explained above)
-Quiz (right or wrong answers)
-Poll (instantly generates poll results in a pie-chart, great for sharing back to the students)
-Open Ended Question (students can type a response)
-Fill in the blanks (you type out a paragraph and then click to omit the blanks that are generated into a word bank)
-Memory Test (use images and create your own flash card game)
You can also add Content:
-field trip (type any location and get a 360 degree view from your iPad)
-Live Twitter Stream