Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2018
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Interactive slideshow tool engages students, promotes collaboration

Subjects & skills

  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: Students actively participate in their education while teachers get valuable feedback on student learning.

Cons: Creating and modifying presentations can be time consuming and can get expensive; some features may not work on all devices.

Bottom Line: This effective tool leverages the capabilities of 1-to-1 environments and offers both teacher- and student-paced learning.

Teachers can use Nearpod to support student learning in a variety of ways. Give students opportunities for interaction and immediate feedback by having them draw on a map or diagram, respond to a poll question, post a note or image to a collaboration board, or take a multiple-choice quiz. Bring the world to your classroom by taking kids on a virtual field trip to a national park or a different country. Help students review key learning concepts by watching videos, reviewing notes, or taking their own notes. Let kids design their own slideshows and teach each other. Incorporate social and emotional learning (SEL) and digital citizenship skills with pre-created lessons on empathy, cyberbullying, or Internet safety. 

Whether students label planets in the solar system, respond to a poll question on climate change, watch a video on how to find the volume of a cylinder, review notes on the different parts of speech, or submit an open-ended response analyzing a primary source, they're interacting with 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. Teachers use the site to create original multimedia presentations or draw from an extensive, growing library of pre-made offerings (many CCSS-aligned and some at a cost). Teachers can upload videos, images, audio clips, and PDF files as well as embed multiple-choice quizzes and polls. Draw Its (students write directly on a slide), collaboration boards, and open-ended questions provide plenty of variety to liven up presentations. Teachers launch the presentation and monitor progress either from the website or through the app. Using the Nearpod app on their devices, students input a code and their names to access content and submit responses.

With Nearpod, teachers interact with students and view student responses in real time, enabling students 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, it's easy to see who is and who isn't viewing the presentation, which helps with classroom management and reinforces appropriate use of technology in the classroom. To account for downtime when waiting for peers to finish responding, it might be a good idea to encourage students to take notes for later review.

Nearpod provides immediate feedback and lets teachers know where reteaching would benefit students. When students receive quiz scores, they can ask questions in the moment to correct errors or take notes to strengthen their understanding of the content. As a differentiation tool, students can move through content at their own pace, and teachers may choose to assign students different presentations or give them a chance to create their own. Since collaboration boards show immediate results to polls, ideas, and images, students can engage in classroom discussion and up-voting. Nearpod is also useful as a homework tool or when a substitute is present (currently in beta). Students can access self-paced assignments on their own device and respond to open-ended questions that the teacher can review online and use to prepare follow-up lessons as needed. 

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 backchannel or group annotation capabilities for further collaboration and communication. Teachers interested in using Nearpod to its fullest capabilities will want to check out the extensive learning resources available through webinars, professional development presentations, and the site's blog.

Overall Rating

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

Students are able to move through teacher-directed or self-directed interactive presentations using nearly any device. The chance to receive 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 deeper learning possible during direct instruction; assigning presentations as self-paced assignments empowers students. Collaboration and drawing 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. Support is extensive for all users; Nearpod solicits teacher feedback and offers regular webinars and updates on new features.

Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

Teacher Reviews

(See all 120 reviews) (120 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Teraye L. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Liberty Middle School
Covington, United States
Engagement, formative assessment, and content all in one place!
This is a fantastic tool which I highly recommend. It is compatible with any subject, any device we've tried. I'm still trying to figure out how to effectively use Clever to log my students in, but that takes nothing away from the amazing opportunities for engagement that NearPod offers.
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