Nearpod is an amazing app for blended learning lessons, whether you’re experienced in blended learning or just getting started.
If you’re not familiar with it, Nearpod is a browser-based app that lets your students interact with your lessons. You can upload Powerpoints or start making lessons from scratch on the website. There are also hundreds of teacher-made lessons right there on the site that you can purchase. Many of them are also free.
Nearpod is free to use, and in my experience you can do just about anything you might want to do with the free version. There is also a Gold level that gives you a few added extras.
So What Can Nearpod Do?
Let me answer that by showing you one of my Nearpod lessons. As you can see, this one is a review of our Photosynthesis/Cell Respiration unit.
I did a Google image search to find an image that I liked and used it for the background of the title slide. You can also put backgrounds on the content slides, but sometimes I find that makes it too “busy.”
Notice a couple of things … first, this is a Preview, found in my Nearpod Library. I can check it and edit it from here. Second, notice on the bottom where it says Live Lesson and Student-Paced. This is one of the features that makes it so amazing for Blended Learning.
You can do this as a whole class, which is one of my fave ways to use it. When you click on Live Lesson, Nearpod generates a code that your students simply input. That gets all of them “in” your lesson. Then, YOU control the pace of the lesson! I would use my iPad for this so I could walk around and help kids or manage issues. My iPad controls STUDENTS’ screens! How cool is that?
Here is a shot of the first slide. It’s just a simple multiple choice question. The beauty of Nearpod, though, is that as students choose the answers on their device, I see their choices in real time! That feature makes it so easy to differentiate a lesson, or to see where students are having problems.
As you can see in the pic below, you can also add short answer questions. Students just type in their answers, hit ENTER, and you as the teacher can see their answers … very helpful! And you can also share examples of great student answers to the whole class. I was amazed at how much my freshmen would say “Is my answer good enough to share?” It was a great little motivator!
You can also do these as student-paced lessons by choosing that option at the bottom. They can be embedded in Google Classroom or a website, or sent via email or by text message so that students can do them as individual assignments. You still get individual reports on answers too.
But this is where Nearpod is so great as a Blended Learning app. You can set this up as a student-paced lesson in a station in your room, maybe with a few chromebooks or iPads, or even a single computer. It can be part of a Station Rotation lesson or as a review for students who are struggling.
I’ve used some of my Nearpod lessons as extension activities, too, for those students who are early finishers or who have a good grasp of the material. The possibilities really are endless.
Have you used Nearpod yet? Do you have some great tips and tricks? Please share them!