Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2017
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Interactive slide show tool engages students and promotes collaboration

Subjects & skills

  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (109 Reviews)
Common Sense Privacy Evaluation

The privacy evaluation process categorizes edtech tools into the following three tiers:

Use Responsibly

Indicates that the service meets the minimum criteria and more research should be completed prior to use.

Use Caution

Indicates that the service does not clearly define the safeguards to protect student information.

Not Recommended

Indicates that the service does not support encryption or lacks a detailed privacy policy.

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Pros: Students become active participants in their education while teachers get valuable feedback on student learning.

Cons: Creating and modifying presentations can be time consuming and can get expensive; the preview feature has some lags.

Bottom Line: This effective tool leverages the capabilities of 1-to-1 environments and brings slide shows into the 21st century.

Teachers can use Nearpod effectively in the classroom to support student learning in a variety of ways. Give students opportunities for interaction and immediate feedback by having them draw on a map, respond to a poll question, post to a collaboration board, or take a multiple-choice quiz. Bring the world to your classroom by incorporating virtual reality and 360° views into your slides. Help students review key concepts through watching videos or reviewing notes. Teach elementary and middle school students how to use technology effectively, or use high-quality BBC videos to enhance lessons.

Whether students draw key locations on a map of Europe, 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 meaningful ways. Thousands of certified publisher- and educator-created lessons are available for use or modification, some for free and others at reasonable prices.

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 an extensive and growing library of pre-made offerings (many CCSS-aligned and some at a cost). Teachers can create from scratch or drag and drop files to modify. 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), collaboration boards, 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 can 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.

The presentations provide opportunities for skill development across the curriculum and multiple ways to improve student learning. 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 for a paper copy to be handed back. 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 personalize instruction. Using it as an engaging interactive tool, students complete polls or post ideas and images to a collaboration board, and results are immediately available for classroom discussion and up-voting. Using it as a homework tool, students can access the assignment outside of the classroom on their own device using the free app or 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. Finally, teachers can use it as an instructional tool, projecting student work for the class to discuss, review, or evaluate individual responses.

When direct instruction is a necessity, Nearpod offers a fantastic way to increase student involvement. It would be nice to see some additional collaborative features like a back channel or group annotation capabilities. It would be great if students could create presentations as well. 

Overall Rating

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

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?

Interactive features make it possible to deepen the learning during direct instruction; assigning presentations as self-paced assignments empowers students. Collaboration and Draw-It features allow for alternative forms of assessment.

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

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
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

Teacher Reviews

(See all 109 reviews) (109 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Nicole D. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Loyola University Maryland
Baltimore, United States
Great way to keep presentations interactive with the class!
As a teaching tool. Nearpod is a great application. I liked how all of my students were able to follow the presentation together. They were also able to answer critical thinking questions anonymously, rather than needing to answer to the class in front of the class. Students are able to work on their communication skills, along with explore content they are learning in class in a presentation. One of my favorite parts of Nearpod is being able to ask my students questions, such as multiple choice, short answer, and true false to keep them engaged in the lesson. In science, students are also able to use Phet activities to apply to content learned in class and explore the curriculum topics.
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