How I Use It
Initially I used the live lesson feature of this product with my second graders in a whole-group setting to introduce and practice math concepts. This helped familiarize students with Nearpod and to engage them in the content. Eventually, students were able to participate in the student-paced feature of the lessons independently. I found this was the best use of the product in my classroom, as I was able to work with other students. Also, even if a student was absent, they could easily make up the lesson when they returned or at home if they had a device and Internet access. By the end of the year, I could give students a lesson PIN, and they could log into the lesson and complete it on their own. Later I would check the reports for assessment data to inform me which students I needed to work with the next day, which needed to retake the lesson, or which were ready to move on. The only problem I had with using Nearpod in my classroom was with some of the built-in youtube videos that required me to use my teacher login as youtube is blocked for general use in our district.
I absolutely love Nearpod! Nearpod lessons allow me to incorporate technology in an authentic way while delivering engaging content. One of my students said, "It's like a game, but we are learning." Using Nearpod is also an excellent way for me to implement flipped learning in my classroom, even for young students. I loved that I could assign a lesson to some students so that I could work individually or in small groups with other students. Students working on Nearpod were almost always engaged so I didn't have to worry about them being off-task while I was working with their peers.
Another thing I love about Nearpod is that it is very inexpensive. You can use the application with whole-group, live lessons for free. And while there are many free lessons on Nearpod that you can choose from, most of the paid lessons are only a few bucks. Also, you can import or create your own lessons for free. I was disappointed that the student-paced feature is not available with the free product. You have to have at least a Gold-level membership which is $10/month, or you can get your principal on board to purchase a School-level membership that offers volume discounts. I really appreciated that Nearpod gave me and my colleagues a free trial this past year.
Overall, I would recommend Nearpod to any teacher who wishes to increase student engagement and integrate technology in a meaningful way!