Thursday, December 17, 2015

Nearpod- A great tech find

I was recently at a training for all the AP Human Geography teachers in my district.  We discuss a lot of things during our meeting relating to Human Geography.  I am one of the facilitators.  One of the best parts of the day is when we have teachers share with everyone great lessons or strategies they use in their classroom.  It was here that I heard about Nearpod.  It was blown away with this app and knew I had to use it right away.

If you are unfamiliar with Nearpod, it is a great tool to help engage a classroom in a variety of ways.  The website says, "we strive to empower educators to create learning experiences that engage and inspire millions of students around the world."  It allows teachers to engage the students in a presentation, but then allows a teacher to engage the students in a variety of methods so they can continuously monitor the students understanding about the content.

Nearpod gives teachers a variety of strategies to engage the students.  You take your PowerPoint and upload it to Nearpod.  You then add a variety of activities to gauge the students understanding.  The students can answer a quiz question, take a poll, create an extended response, an draw or annotate anything (seriously, my favorite!).  After the students have answered, you can share out to all of the students in graphs, pie charts, or have them read the answers other students submitted.

This is a very teacher-directed lesson, but there are topics in my course that need some direct instruction at the beginning to give the students the necessary basics so they can move on to deepening the knowledge through engaging learning experiences.  I love how I can monitor their progress and understanding.  

For a more exciting and deeper experience, teachers can insert a 360 degree view of places around the world.  This is exciting because it allows me to take concepts in geography, and have them apply them to the world around them.  We can take virtual field trips to the Demilitarized Zone between the Koreas, view the Holy Sites in Jerusalem, or visit the Great Wall of China.  For my class, this was a great find for the students.  When I think they've had enough time to look around, I simply progress the presentation to give them a chance to process it.

If a student is absent, and you want them to experience the entire lesson, you can assign it for homework as well (if you're a Gold Member).  Click here is an example of that.

This has proven to be an amazing tool to use during my stream teaching.  This allows me to control the devices on both campuses.  This has enhanced our learning on both sides of the webcam.  I'm exited about using this tool to its fullest for the rest of the year!