This week I visited my colleague, Dautie. She’s a fifth grade teacher who enjoys trying new apps and tech tools in her class. She introduced me to Nearpod. It’s a platform that helps teachers create engaging lessons to increase student participation and interaction. Teachers can set up a free account and create content to use in their classrooms. There are also pre-made lessons available for purchase.
During the lesson, students use their Chromebooks to visit www.nearpod.com and enter a code provided through the website. This allows students to join the live lesson and participate by answering multiple choice, true/false, short answer, or poll questions the teacher has created. When students respond, all student answers display on the teacher’s screen. When projected for the class, students are able to see what their classmates are thinking.
This teaching tool is great for helping teachers to get instant feedback on their students’ learning throughout the lesson, allowing them to adjust their teaching. Students are motivated and excited to see their answers displayed for the class to see, increasing participation and accountability. Moreover, every student is able to participate and answer every question, improving engagement and thinking.
Let’s take a look at few of Dautie’s lessons. This week she used Nearpod along with a novel study. Students completed the selection of reading with Dautie and highlighted the text looking for explicit information to answer questions. This was followed by a second read of the same text with a partner.
Using Nearpod, Dautie posed different implied questions in which the students had to find the evidence in the text and make an inference. Students were able to chat with a partner and then respond using Nearpod. Dautie created a variety of question types including poll, multiple choice, short answer, and extended response. She made sure to draw attention to exemplary responses to use as a model for future questions.
|Short answer question
|Poll question with percentages
|Extended response question
Last year, Dautie used Nearpod during a lesson in which students used multiple texts to compare point of view and how events in a text are perceived. She designed this lesson to require students to deepen their understanding of point of view, beyond simple identification. Dautie has also used Nearpod for her math instruction to allow students to explain their thinking and their process when solving a problem.
I asked a handful of students what they thought about using Nearpod. Many of them stated that they like typing better than writing with paper and pencil. One student even said that she was able to type faster than she would write. While observing Dautie’s students, I noticed that every student was engaged and working hard to complete their answers in the given amount of time. Not all students were typing correctly, but I would say that most of them were typing faster than they would have written.
A few students also mentioned that they like being able to answer every question from the teacher. Rather than waiting their turn, and making their arm tired from raising it all the time, each student answers every question. By projecting everyone’s answers on the front screen, everyone can have a voice in the lesson.
Two students stated that they like Nearpod because they can see what everyone else is thinking. They can interact with other students, even if they are not sitting right next to them, because they can read their work on the screen.
|This student is reading her peers' responses and commenting
I initially thought that Nearpod would mostly allow for basic, low level questions, but Dautie has created language arts lessons that require her students to analyze and compare texts, make inferences, respond to peer answers, and justify their thinking with textual evidence. Her Nearpod math lessons allow students to explain their thinking and the processes they used. What a great way to use this technology tool to improve instruction.
I’m looking forward to trying Nearpod in my classroom soon. Thanks for these great ideas, Dautie!