Review by Jennifer Sitkin, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2013
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Nearpod

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Interactive, multimedia slide shows engage students and provide feedback

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Teachers say (93 Reviews)
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K-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Students become active participants in their education while teachers get valuable feedback on student learning.

Cons: Creating presentations can be time consuming, there's very little flexibility within the templates, and it's difficult to preview presentations.

Bottom Line: This effective tool leverages the capabilities of 1-to-1 environments to bring the slideshow presentation format into the 21st century.

Teachers can use Nearpod effectively in the classroom to support student learning in a variety of ways. As an assessment tool, Nearpod provides immediate feedback and opportunities for re-teaching. When students receive quiz scores, they can ask questions to clarify errors in their understanding of the content instead of waiting until a paper copy is handed back a week later. As a presentation tool, students move through content at their own pace which allows for differentiation. Teachers may also choose to provide students with different presentations to further individualize instruction.  As an interactive tool, students complete polls and results are immediate for classroom discussion. As a homework tool, students access the assignment outside of the classroom on their own device using the free app or or on the website. They respond to open-ended questions that the teacher can review online and use to prepare follow-up lessons based on areas of need. And finally, as an instructional tool, teachers can project student work to the class to discuss, review, or evaluate individual responses.

Editor's note: Common Sense Education has a partnership with Nearpod. However, Common Sense Education's reviews maintain editorial integrity and independence.

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Nearpod is the go-to tool for interactive presentations and assessments. At the Nearpod website, teachers create their own multimedia presentations or use a growing library of pre-made offerings (many CCSS aligned and some at a cost). They can upload videos, images, audio clips, and PDF files and can embed multiple-choice quizzes, slide shows, polls, draw-its (students write directly on a slide), and open-ended questions. Teachers launch the presentation and monitor progress either from the website or through the app. Using the Nearpod app on their devices, students input their names to access the content and submit responses.

With Nearpod, teachers can interact with students as they move through the presentations and can view student responses in real time. Students enjoy the opportunity to take ownership of their learning rather than passively viewing a teacher-directed whole-class presentation. Teachers can control the timing or launch homework sessions in which students move through at their own pace. Either way, teachers are aware of who is and who isn't viewing the presentation, which helps with classroom management and reinforces appropriate use of technology in the classroom.

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The presentations provide opportunities for skill development across the curriculum and multiple ways to improve student learning. Students can see immediate results when they draw on a map, respond to a poll question, or take a multiple-choice quiz. In addition, students can review key concepts when they watch videos or read over notes. Whether students draw key locations on a map of China, respond to a poll question on tropical forests, watch a video on how to solve a quadratic equation, review notes on the different parts of speech, or submit an open-ended response analyzing a primary document, they're interacting with the content in a meaningful way. For situations where direct instruction is a necessity, Nearpod offers a fantastic way to increase student involvement. It would be nice to see some collaborative features like a backchannel or group annotation capabilities. Also, it would be great if students could make presentations as well (the tool is only set up for teacher creation).

The pre-made presentations, created by certified publishers and educators, are high quality. Many are free, and those that cost are reasonably priced. Highlights include a series of world history presentations for high school students, a Common Core-aligned presentation on quadrilaterals for 4th graders, and a presentation on Newton’s Laws for middle school students.

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
5

With a device in their hands, students are able to move through teacher-directed or self-directed interactive presentations. Immediate feedback on assessments and polls increases buy-in.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

Interactive features make it possible to deepen the learning during direct instruction; assigning presentations as self-paced assignments empowers students.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
5

The site provides real-time results and reports to monitor student progress and modify instruction. Nearpod support is extensive for all users. The company wants teacher feedback and offers regular webinars and updates on new features.


Common Sense Reviewer
Jennifer Sitkin Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

5
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Featured review by
Lauren B. ,
Xavier University
Cincinnati, OH
4
Engaging way to keep students on track!

I think this teaching tool is very accessible to many students whether they are in class or at home. I liked the feature that keeps students on track and focused .

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