I decided to look into Nearpod a little more, mostly because I have seen Dyknow in use, and this seems very similar to me. After looking into it a little more, I realized there are many things that are the same as Dyknow and yet, also so many things that are different. Shocking, right? I joined Nearpod and was able to look around a bit to see the differences and similarities between Nearpod and Dyknow. I liked that they allow you to join for free, and help you to get started with an introductory lesson that you can look at.
I like Nearpod because you are able to have students follow along with your lesson at the pace you want them to go. Often, by posting things online and letting students look at them ahead of time, they are constantly going through and seeing how many slides are left or going ahead to look at the answers to problems you are currently working on. With Nearpod, the teacher is in control of when students can advance on to the next slide and where they can go in the presentation. Another thing that I really liked about Nearpod was that if the teacher wanted to give the students control to look around a specific website they can, and they can make sure that the students are staying on the website and not looking anywhere else.
Another cool thing that Nearpod does is gives you lessons that you can use with the Nearpod app. Of course you have to buy most of them, but they also offer free previews of lessons. These lessons include lessons for English Language learners, math lessons and even some presentations from Time For Kids, plus many, many more. These lessons can be bought individually, in case you just wanted to see it or try it out, or you can buy the whole set. I think this is very helpful, especially for teachers just beginning to use Nearpod because it has all the neat tricks and tips already built into the presentations. Teachers can also build videos into the presentations, as well as web pages, free drawing sections and many other cool things!
Nearpod also gives assessment opportunities for the teachers to use for free. You can incorporate polling, quizzes and even open ended questions all for free into your presentations. The teacher can also make these activities required before the students can move onto the next ones. I thought this was really neat too, because the teacher can then look at the results from the assessment and gather data based on her presentation from the quiz, poll or questions that are incorporated into the Nearpod presentation. Here’s what the teacher view looks like:
One drawback to having Nearpod would be the economic drawback. Nearpod would only be feasible in a school that could afford for each student to have an ipad or computer, as the app is mostly based on an iPad. However, they also have iOS downloads, as well as Android downloads that can be used on phones. I can forsee major problems with allowing students to have their phones out during class though, constantly receiving text messages and feeling the need to exit out of the app to check them. However, the nice thing about Nearpod, is that the teacher can always see who is logged into the presentation and who is joining and leaving, so that could be a way to make sure students are following along and not messing around on their phones.
I would love to try Nearpod out in a classroom. With all of the things that you can build into the presentation, it will help to keep students engaged. Also, the perk of not allowing them to move forward or backward without your permission, sets it up perfectly for them to have to stay with you and pay attention. While I think this app would require a lot of practice before I could use it flawlessly, I think that I would love to incorporate this into my classroom. I would also suggest this for classes because it has many ways to keep kids entertained and you can continuously be changing the focus from lecture-based teaching to something that allows for more fun.