Rita D. Williams, Ph.D.
Nearpod...My New Best Friend
Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Let’s face it. We are all Zoomed out. In addition to Zooming for work, we are Zooming for church, family reunions, homeowner association meetings, you name it. With all this video-conferencing, there is a strong tendency - or at least temptation- to turn off our cameras, mute our microphones and detach. As such, we need to make sure as students are experiencing teaching and learning via Zoom, we are making the encounter as engaging as possible. I am grateful that online tools such as Flipgrid, Desmos and Kahoot are free, easy-to-use and great for increasing student participation. The virtual resource that I am currently loving is Nearpod.
Nearpod is a practical method for making instruction more interactive. With features such as Draw It, Collaborate Board, Polls, and Matching Pairs, educators can spice up their lessons and get students involved in their own learning as well as the learning of their peers.
With the Draw It feature, the possibilities are numerous. Students can draw or type onto a white canvas; draw, type, or highlight on a background that their teacher uploads; and annotate text or pictures. Students doing mathematics work can upload images of manipulatives, such as number lines and hundreds charts, to help with problem-solving. Teachers can select student work samples to share with the remaining students to spark academic discourse.
Collaborate Board allows students to share creative ideas, text, and images in real time with their peers and teacher. They can also like each other’s responses just as they do on social media.
Using Polls, teachers can survey their students and immediately see the responses in a circle graph. This is a great way to ignite discussions on the varying answers or assess student comprehension on the standard of focus.
Matching Pairs allow students of all ages to tap into their inner-child as they engage in an activity from their younger years to demonstrate mastery. This feature entails students selecting corresponding text and images created by their teacher. A timer can be used to ensure proficiency or add some collegial competition.
Let’s face it. Some measure of remote learning is here to stay. It is our duty to use all available tools in our teacher toolbox to heighten instructional variety and student engagement. If you have not had the opportunity to see how Nearpod can help you and your students, I definitely recommend your taking the time to do so today.