Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How Nearpod Will Change Your Classroom

I've heard of Nearpod for about 2 years now. However, with all the other wonderful technology tools out there, there was not a reason for me to dedicate my (very precious) classroom time in experimenting with another. No one I knew had used it, and it wasn't making a huge buzz within the community (to my knowledge). If something was THAT significant a teaching tool, wouldn't everyone be using it?

A Nearpod session at the TCEA conference in Austin showed me that I couldn't have been more wrong. 

Essentially, Nearpod is a way to relay information to your students. That doesn't sound very revolutionary, does it? But THERE'S MORE. Nearpod digs deeper into content by allowing students the voice in answering questions, polls and even create drawings through the means of an engaging iPad, phone, or laptop.

Nearpod allows you to control a presentation (similar to Powerpoint) on every child's screen. As you move through the presentation on your iPad or laptop, the screen will change on your students' devices as well. No moving too fast or falling behind!

As you create the presentation for your students, you can insert other slides to assess your students' knowledge and keep that engagement up. Possible activities to include are: open ended questions, MC quizzes, a poll, and (my favorite) draw it which an option for students to highlight, draw and otherwise demonstrate what they learned on a picture.

Traditionally, to teach a new concept, I'll have students take notes. Is it effective? Yes. But does it really excite my students about learning that new concept? I think y'all know the answer to that one.

The first time I used Nearpod in my classroom, my kids were enamored with it. I was introducing the concept of Nonfiction Text Features. Typically, this isn't the subject that has my kiddos begging for more. However, my students were disappointed when the lesson ended. Not only did my students learn important vocabulary terms such as 'topic sentence' and 'subheading,' they were able to highlight them on a paragraph and submit it to me. Not only did my kids discover the difference between a glossary and an index, they answered vocabulary questions which then sent me a real time report so I knew what terms they were still having trouble with. Not only did my kids know why text features are important, they answered a poll at the end to indicate to me how comfortable they were with the new concept.

One final note, Nearpod does not have to be done whole class. Our 4th and 5th grades are 1:1, so I have used it with all my students. However, I spoke with teachers of younger grades. They were excited about the possibilities of Nearpod in guided reading groups, as well as stations. Students can even share a device to work together on a Nearpod. It also works on computers as well as iPads!

This tool works. It has the bones, and it has the technology piece to entice all learners. Take it from a doubter, you want to use this.

Do you want to know how to create and use Nearpod? Click this link to access my post-- a comprehensive guide for Nearpod beginners: Nearpod: A 'How To'

With Love from Texas,

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