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Pros: Students can actively participate, teachers get valuable feedback, and there's a good content library.
Cons: Content filters could be better, and it can take time to get familiar with the features.
Bottom Line: The teacher- or student-paced learning can improve 1-to-1 environments and the learning activities are top notch.
Nearpod can help add a layer of interactivity and feedback to slideshow-style lessons; 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, take a multiple-choice quiz, or participate in a gamified Time to Climb challenge. Use Nearpod's VR lessons to take students on a virtual field trip to a national park or a different country. Help students review key learning concepts or vocabulary by incorporating Flocabulary videos and activities into your presentations. Or promote social and emotional learning (SEL) and digital citizenship skills with pre-created lessons on empathy, cyberbullying, internet safety, or social justice. If you're really creative, you can even undertake all of these interactions within the same presentation.
Teachers will want to browse the thousands of certified publisher- and educator-created lessons for inspiration. These can be used as-is or modified. Note that while many are free, others require a purchase.
Nearpod is a tool for creating and delivering interactive presentations, formative or summative assessments, and content related to SEL, digital citizenship, vocabulary, social justice, and more. Teachers use the site to create original multimedia presentations or draw from an extensive library of free and cost-based standards-aligned offerings. Teachers can upload videos, images, audio clips, and files as well as embed multiple-choice quizzes and polls. Drawing tools, collaboration boards, and open-ended questions provide plenty of variety to liven up presentations. Teachers can launch presentations and monitor progress either from the website or through the app, and they can choose whether or not to make students' names visible. Students can access presentations via a code.
Teachers can interact with students in person or virtually and view student responses in real time, enabling students to take ownership of their learning rather than passively view a teacher-directed, whole-class presentation. Teachers can also control in-class timing or launch homework sessions in which students move through lessons at their own pace. Either way, it's easy to see who's viewing the presentation, which helps to manage the classroom and reinforce appropriate use of technology.
Disclosure: Common Sense Education's K–12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum is available on Nearpod; however, this partnership was established after our initial review.
Nearpod gives teachers opportunities to provide immediate feedback and lets them know where reteaching would benefit students. Students can ask questions in the moment or take notes to strengthen their understanding of the content. Students can also move through content at their own pace, and teachers may choose to assign them different presentations or give them a chance to create their own. Since features like polls, ideas, and collaborative boards show immediate results, students and teachers can engage in meaningful discussion. Alternatively, teachers can implement follow-up questions through up-voting or quickly inserted whiteboards. Nearpod is also useful as a remote learning tool or for when a substitute is present in the classroom, as it's relatively easy for teachers to monitor student progress on the platform.
When direct instruction is a necessity, Nearpod offers fantastic ways to increase student involvement via in-person or remote environments. 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.
If there's a complaint to be made about Nearpod, it's that -- compared to some competitors -- it takes more time to figure out and get proficient with using. As a result, it might be best suited to more sustained use rather than as something you pull out here and there or use just to adapt some of your existing content. Patience is also needed when browsing the massive content library. It has tons of great content but lacks filters, so you'll need to do some digging and exploring to find that "just right" lesson.