Friday, April 5, 2013

Free App Friday: Nearpod

If you have a class set of iPads or access to an iPad cart, you should be using Nearpod! Don't stop reading this post if you don't have iPads - Nearpod can also be accessed on other devices.

Nearpod is a free tool that allows you to deliver synchronized, interactive, multimedia presentations to your students on their iPads.  Can you say, "Active Cognitive Engagement?!" Teachers can upload presentations that they have previously created into their Nearpod account, and then add interactive features such as polls, quizzes, draw slides, and videos. The teacher then starts a session from the Nearpod app on her iPad, and the students join the session from the app on their iPads. The teacher then controls what the students see on their screen. When the teacher advances to another slide in the presentation, the students' presentations also moves to the next slide.

Poll, Q&A, and Quiz slides allow the teacher to see real time results as students answer the questions. The teacher can choose whether to share the results with the students (names are omitted). Later, the teacher can print individual and class score reports to easily view grades for students or assess student performance.

Another interactive option is the "Draw It" feature. This type of slide allows students to use their finger to write or draw on the screen and then submit what they have drawn or written to the teacher. Once the teacher receives student's submissions (she can see who has submitted, and who hasn't), she can choose which of the drawings to push out to student's devices to generate discussion.

Other neat features of Nearpod:

  • ability to share your presentations with other teachers
  • teachers can use "featured presentations" created by distinguished educators instead of spending time creating their own
  • Nearpod just launched a web app that allows students to view presentations on devices other than iPads.
  • if you really love Nearpod, you can purchase a "School Edition" with even more great features

Classroom Integration Ideas:

  • Use "Draw It" slides to have students label a map, identify parts of speech, or work a math problem. Then share a few of the outstanding drawings with students as positive reinforcement.
  • Add quizzes throughout your presentations for quick mastery checks.  
  • Let the students be the teacher: when students deliver presentations to the class, upload their PowerPoint to Nearpod and let students view it through the Nearpod app together in class.
To get started with Nearpod, go to and set up your free teacher account. Then download the app on your iPad and your student's iPads. If you need help creating your first presentation, contact your Instructional Technology Specialist to set up a training session. 

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