How I Use It
I use Nearpod in all of my classes (5th & 6th grade Language Arts, Math, & Technology). It's a terrific tool for easily increasing student involvement in presentations you already have, as you can upload any Powerpoint or PDF. Once you've created a new presentation (or uploaded an old one), you can add a variety of activities including polling, quizzes, and drawing responses. The drawing has been very powerful for my purposes, as you can also include a base image for students to draw on top of. As an example, the other day I taught the coordinate plane and had kids plot given points using the draw function. To summarize, think of Nearpod as a (for the most part) strictly better replacement for slideshow presentations in a classroom setting.
As I said, Nearpod is the best slideshow presentation app for classrooms that I've come across. That said, there are a few caveats. First, the student response portion requires each student to have an internet-capable device. If you don't meet that requirement, don't bother with Nearpod. Secondly, Nearpod lacks some of the bells and whistles of dedicated slideshow programs such as Powerpoint or Keynote. If you really love your animated slideshows with tons of embedded functionality, Nearpod may not be your jam. Finally, the basic free account only affords you 50 MB of presentations, which is not a lot and will probably require you to delete old presentations to make room for new ones if you use the program with any frequency. The cheapest premium account (bought as a solo deal) is $120 annually and gives you 3 GB.
If those issues aren't a problem for you, Nearpod is pretty tremendous. It's easy to use, and students don't need an account to access your Nearpods (so no worrying about yet another username and password that they need to remember). The store has some great free offerings that can get your library of presentations started (as well as some fancy paid bundles). As you go through each slide, the slide appears on your screen as well as every student's screen, which can help with keeping kids focused on the material. Obviously, incorporating more interactivity into your presentations improves student engagement/learning. Perhaps most beneficial for a teacher is that you Nearpod will automatically grade any quiz you assign through it and saves all of the data from each time you deliver the presentation. It even saves all of your students' drawings! You can export all of this data as a rich PDF, or as a CSV file if you get the premium account. I don't know about you, but I love having tons of data on hand that's easy to digest.
I definitely recommend this tool.