Thursday, September 13, 2012

NearPod: A Must Have iPad App

I discovered the Nearpod app a couple weeks ago, but only recently had the chance to try it out with my students. Nearpod is an amazing app that has so much potential, all we have to do is brainstorm and "think" in terms of Nearpod and I think we can come up with some very dynamic lessons using this app. Once we know what Nearpod can do, then we can start thinking about ways we can use it and start developing lessons. Nearpod comes with two apps: student and teacher.  At BVMS, all the iPads have the student app, but iPad #1 has the teacher app, so that is the one the teacher would use. With Nearpod, the teacher can develop an interactive presentation and control it during class. All the iPads are synced with the teacher app (#1 iPad) so whatever the teacher is looking at within Nearpod, the students see on their screen. This is very useful to make sure students are on task and not going ahead. Whenever you change the screen and go on to the next slide or activity, the students' iPads change as well. The feature about NearPod that I like the best is the sharing feature. I think its great to have students share what they think and what they know. But when you call on a kid with their hand raised, they start talking and everybody else starts doing nothing. They just sit there, half paying attention/half daydreaming. With NearPod, all the students can share at the same time and have their thoughts and opinions shared throughout the whole class. For example, maybe the kids just read a story and you want them to think about what will happen next. You give them that task within NearPod and they type their answer. Once they submit their responses, you can see their answers on your own iPad. At this point, you can scroll through all of their responses very quickly. If you see a response that you want to share, simply touch the 'share' button and it instantly pops up on everyone's iPad. This is a great way to share thoughts quickly. The best thing for you to do is to check out Nearpod and simply play around with it.  
Features of NearPod
-sync all iPads
-quick and easy sharing
-create interactive presentations that include:
  **Pictures/PDF files
  **Opinion/open ended questions students answer with text
  **Quiz feature
  **Q and A
  **Drawing/Sketching on blank canvas or picture canvas

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