Top Ten Tips for Nearpod
Nearpod has always been one of our most favourite apps here at iPad Educators and we have spoken of its use both here on the site and as a part of several presentations worldwide.
Nearpod have now launching a scheme called PioNears - to highlight and bring together a group who are spearheading innovative use of the app. I'm really proud that not only was I selected to be part of the first class of ten PioNears but I was soon followed by Sabba and Luke - meaning the three folk that are core to the iPad Educators team have ALL been highlighted. We will be working alongside Nearpod in the coming months to deliver PD sessions on the app and more. Keep your eyes on our social media for dates and times!
In the meantime, to commemorate this achievement, I thought it was the perfect time to drop a Nearpod version of our Top Ten Tips articles which always prove popular. So here goes:
1. Renovate and rejuvenate
Been using the same old PowerPoint presentation for the last decade? Chances are youre students are already bored of seeing them. In fact Forces Magazine shared some great stats on this via SlideRocket. Take a look at them in the slideshow to the right.
Freshen up your old PPT by converting it to an NPP (Nearpod presentation) and adding interactive content! The fact that you can do this means that you don't have to start from scratch. In fact any PPT can be imported into Nearpod. I always find this is something that less tech-friendly teachers are encouraged by.
2. Design decisions
Where do you make your presentations? You can make them directly in Nearpod but don't forget that you can insert any PDF file you wish too. Since most Office type software can export as PDF, it provides you with a wealth of design options. As much as I love all things iPad, my go to software will always be Microsoft Publisher. The speed with which I can create using it makes it my weapon of choice for most tasks, including my NPP design.
3. Interact and engage
It's kind of a given that the best thing about Nearpod is the ability to access interactive tools to engage learners. Polls, quizzes, annotation tasks - they all make superb additions to any lesson and allow for assessment and differentiation to flow through your pedagogy. A favourite of ours during our remote Nearpod presentations is to use the Blob Bridge (see right) to assess prior knowledge of the app/confidence with mobile technology.
Also don't forget that Nearpod have added a lot of new features in the last year including the ability to add Youtube links and Twitter feeds. You can also embed whole PDF documents within a session. This is great as you can allow students time to access the document while you take a little break. :)
4. Access granted
Another good tip is to share the PIN code for accessing a Nearpod session as early as possible. Depending on the quality of your connection, the number of people joining and the size of your NPP file, it can take a few minutes for a whole group to gain access to a session. As such, I always try and share the PIN code ahead of time if possible e.g. during a break time or in between classes. That way no time is lost in the actual lesson itself.
5. Split the session
No one said Nearpod has to take up a whole teaching session. 21st Century students need a range of active learning opportunites to facilitate student-focused, meaningful learning takes place. Something I like to do is what I have dubbed the "Split-pod session" - I bookend a practical activity with Nearpod. So for example, you start in Nearpod for sharing an objective or assessing prior knowledge then move on to a practical task or collaborative assignment. Upon completion, students return to Nearpod for a quiz or other plenary element (the open-answer tool makes for a great forum for learning reflections.)
It's worth noting that you CAN minimise Nearpod and access other apps without the NPP session expiring. I've used this to great effect in Science class - initiating a topic via Nearpod then moving on to a practical before returning to conclude in the NPP. I've embedded a sample to the right (did you know that you can do that now too?)
6. Remote control
Students don't all need to be in the same place for a Nearpod lesson. PINs can be shared via email, meaning absent students can still take part
("Yes Mrs Smith, even though Johnny's sick in bed, he can still join in with the lesson.")
This also provides great opprotunities for connecting education worldwide. Imagine sharing a session with a class from another country (perhaps one being studied) and comparing answers to the same questions about social issues etc? Remember - the classroom of the future has no walls...
In fact, remote Nearpod sessions have become a bit of a trademark calling card here at iPad Educators. Our patented Nearpod/Facetime combo has seen us present worldwide from Dubai to Los Angeles, the UK and Cyprus amongst others. We even have a session lined up to Caracas for early 2015. Please do get in touch if you'd like us to facilitate a remote Nearpod CPD session for you!
7. Data tracker
With all the attention that the interactive features and control of devices that Nearpod attracts, some people forget that it's a genuinely awesome assessment tool. Not only do you get live feedback during the sessions, straight to your device but you can access the reports tool via the Nearpod website and track a range of data relating to each session.
Reports can be filtered by question/activity and donut charts are provided for each. This is hard data that can be used for mentoring students and follow up sessions to ensure thorough understanding of a topic.
The reports can be exported with ease and used to inform planning of future sessions.
8. No iPad, no problem
One of the most common questions we get asked about Nearpod is - "does it only work on iPad?" No! Nearpod is completely cross-platform. In fact you don't even need a mobile device as sessions can be accessed from the website itself, meaning even a desktop user can partake.
One note for PC users though - the Draw-its can be tricky if your machine is from the land before touch screen.
9. Shop around
There are over 2000 NPPs available from the Nearpod Store. Some are free, some are paid. Many are superb. They cover a range of topics including Maths, Science and Literacy as well as Social Studies topics. Even TIME Magazine have contributed sessions!
why not check out the store the next time you have a lesson to plan... someone may have done the heavy lifting for you already!
10. Learn from the masters
We don't mean us (though we are good) but Nearpod themselves! Weekly webinears offer educators hands-on training sessions for everything you'd need to get up and running with all of the great features that Nearpod has to offer. Click here to find out more about the schedule!