Nearpod – Interactive Lessons for Your Classroom

As a Nearpod Certified Educator, I am frequently asked by colleagues what Nearpod is, and why they should use it in their class.  This blog post will serve to attempt to answer both of these questions.

The Basics

Nearpod (www.nearpod.com) is a web-based and mobile application that allows educators to deliver their lessons interactively to students while monitoring their progress in real-time.  Educators can download curated lessons from the Nearpod library, create personalized interactive content within the Nearpod website or application, or convert a lesson from another source, for example, a PowerPoint or Adobe Acrobat Reader file.  Interactive pages and elements are crafted within the new Nearpod lesson.  These interactive components can include polls, quizzes, collaboration sessions, memory tests, slideshows, videos, or virtual reality field trips.

Educators have the option to share and control their interactive lessons in a synchronous/real-time classroom session, or through asynchronous/student-directed sessions.  Generally, the lesson is created by the educator to maximize engagement within the intended delivery model.

Nearpod works on both Macintosh and Windows-based computers through the website, or on Apple iOS and Android-based tablets and smartphones through the Nearpod application, allowing students to use their own devices.  In my experience, Nearpod works best using a tablet and with students working together in small groups to support problem-based learning.  However, the multi-platform compatibility of Nearpod ensures institutions can use existing computer labs and classrooms to reduce additional costs, as new hardware is not required to benefit from the interactive features of this education application.

Evidence

As the lesson is delivered by the educator, students interact and submit answers and responses on their individual device.  The lesson is controlled by the educator through the mobile app, allowing the educator to monitor and measure the student response individually or collectively while moving around the classroom.  This real-time feedback to the educator allows for adaption of the lesson pace as the content is delivered.  Educators can focus on elements of the lesson the students require or want more time to explore.  Anonymous sharing of student responses helps to increase participation by students who may not have previously participated in traditional discussions.  Progress monitoring and the positive effect of real-time monitoring by educators has been researched and validated by several authors including Dewey, Luckner, Santi, and Schunk.  McKay and Ravenna (2016) looked specifically at Nearpod and the impact of progress monitoring and found that an educator utilizing the Nearpod application with progress monitoring was better able to determine the extent to which students met the lesson objectives when compared to an educator not utilizing Nearpod.

Student engagement is the cornerstone of Nearpod.  As examined previously, Nearpod has several varied interactive tools and components to help engage students.  Tools are also available to help minimize off-task behaviour, including instructor notifications when a student leaves the application.  This feature further ensures student engagement.  Krahenbuhl and Mydland (2015) studied 47 undergraduate students and found that “using Nearpod during live instruction prevents distraction and contributes to better learning outcomes” (Nearpod.com, n.d.).

Nearpod is a powerful education application that improves student engagement and participation.  The only limitation of this tool is the imagination of the educator.  I would strongly recommend this application to all educators.

Further Resources

Here is a great video on the basics of how Nearpod works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThlqFu1qIlM

Fast Company wrote a good article on Nearpod and Digital Citizenship that is worth reading: https://www.fastcompany.com/40462371/this-startup-adds-digital-citizenship-to-school-curriculums

Krahenbuhl, K., & Smith, K. (2015). Nearpod: A Technology Tool to Engage Students in Inquiry. Questioning Strategies, 10(9). Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/ascd-express/vol10/1009-krahenbuhl.aspx

Mckay, L., & Ravenna, G. (2016). Nearpod and the Impact on Progress Monitoring. CCNews, 27(1), 23–27. Retrieved from http://news.nearpod.com/CCTE Nearpod Research.pdf

Nearpod.com. (n.d.) http://www.nearpod.com

Thank you for taking some time out of your day.  What are your thoughts on Nearpod?   Have you used it?  Have a favourite classroom application to promote student engagement?  Please comment below.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

 

Image: Paramedic students from Fanshawe College utilizing Nearpod during a lesson on mass casualty incident management.   Photograph by Dugg Steary.

 

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