How I Use It
When I initially learned about Nearpod, I like the idea of guided presentations; however, lecture style presentations with PowerPoint are not something I do often. The Q&A and drawing answer feature was nice, but I was already using other tools successfully for formative assessment.
Earlier this year I had a series of images that I wanted to share with students. Just looking at the through the Apple TV would have worked, but it would have dulled the intricate details and discussion prompts. I quickly turned the images into slides on Nearpod. The students were able to view and zoom in on the parts of the map image that interested them most. The students drove the lesson discussion and I secretly accomplished all of my teaching objectives.
The game changer for my teaching is two premium features: student notes and the FieldTrip feature. Students are able to take notes side-by-side with the slides as they are presented. At the end of class they can either email themselves the PDF of both slide images and notes or they can save the PDF directly to GoogleDrive. It makes much more sense then notes isolated from the images. FieldTrip is the student favorite by far. FieldTrips are 360° panorama images that students can explore by rotating their device or zooming in with their fingers. Every single time we have done this you hear 'wows' and 'look at this!.' Students who rarely engage with the learning ask to take screenshots of things they find in the image. Nearpod has some FieldTrips already created, but you can also convert any of the thousand images on 360cities.net.
From the above description it should be obvious that I like a lot. I create Nearpods for most of the topics and a secondary Nearpod for remediation of that topic. I use it with small focused groups and full group instruction. Sometimes the students are frustrated when the wifi is spotty and/or the site will not load correctly.
I have found the paid content is not worth it. I can create better resources myself. With that being said, it is very time intensive to create my own presentations. There are many engagement elements that take it beyond a boring presentation. I think investing the time is worth it, but if you don't spend the time ahead of time on creating a stellar product to share with the students, you might not find Nearpod as valuable as I do.