Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Nearpod Review

I was introduced to Nearpod a week or so ago by a colleague, and then I participated in a webinar to make sure that I understood all the basics.

Nearpod is a presentation distribution web & iPad app. Teachers use the web app to create interactive presentations that they can then control with their iPads. Students use the free iPad or iPod app to watch and participate in the presentation.

To add media to your Nearpod presentation, import images or PDFs. Then, add interactive slides. Here are the options:

The poll option looks like this:

Unlike Socrative, with Nearpod teachers do have the option to add images to the presentation. This is helpful - especially for math and science classes.

The Q&A option is like a mini-quiz. I wish there was an option here for free response. A lot of times I have an open ended question for my students or an exit ticket. This option would be well-suited for a free response question. **see comments below**

The Quiz is similar to the Q&A section but allows for many multiple choice questions to be asked at once.

The video option is where teachers can upload videos that are no more than 3 minutes long and sized under 10 GB. Videos must also be mp4 format, which is not a problem if you use a youtube downloader, but can be difficult if you need to convert video files you already have in storage. I found it easiest to redownload in the format I needed (most of my video files are .flv for Smart Notebook compatibility). When the teacher starts a video slide, all students see and hear the video on their own devices.

The Draw It option is an interesting interactive. Students are given a blank page or a background image to draw with a limited palette.

Once the presentation is finished and published, the real fun begins. Teachers use their iPads to control the flow. Once they open the Student Nearpod App, students only see on their iPad or iPod screens what the teacher wants them to see. To move to the next slide, simply swipe.

The bottom slider allows teachers to preview all the slides in the presentation, and jump to any slide at any time. Tap "Share" to push an individual slide to the student display.

When switching to an interactive slide, like a Quiz, the teacher sees the results in real time, listed by student name (students login at the beginning of the presentation). At the top of the result page, a pie chart shows the overall distribution of correct answers. Individual answers and overall results can be shared with the class (tap share at the top). For example, on a Draw It slide, if a student does a particularly interesting drawing that you want to share with the class, tap the drawing and share it. The name of the student is not shared with the class.

If you look at the slide above, you will notice on my presentation that no students are logged in. This is indicated by the number next in the top left corner next to the shadow profile. You will also notice that this is a fraction. Once all your students have logged in, if one student leaves the presentation that top number decreases by one and turns red. This feature allows you to see if a student is off-task. If you click the number, you will see which student has left the presentation.

After the presentation is over, email yourself the results of all assessments by clicking the bar graph in the top fixed bar. Your assessment results can also be accessed on the Nearpod website.

Right now, Nearpod is free for teachers to create up to 10 presentations at a time. I still have not received information on how much it costs to upgrade to an unlimited amount of presentations. I would like this option so I can prepare presentations ahead of time. Nearpod also has a library of presentations already created that teachers can immediately use - these do not count against your 10 presentation limit.

- Interactive
- Slick Display
- Real-time polling and quizzing
- Drawing feature

Things to work on:
- Free response feature **see comments** - there is a way to do this
- Randomize quiz questions and answers to help avoid cheating
- Share Nearpod presentations with other teachers

Overall, I'm impressed with this product and I'm looking forward to using it! If you have any questions, I suggest signing up for Nearpod's beginner webinar.