For classes in which all students have access to an iPad, iPhone, or iPod, I highly recommend checking out the app called Nearpod.  Nearpod is an educational app that allows for the synchronized use of mobile apple devices in the classroom.  Professors can not only share slides with their students and manage the flow of the lecture, but they can also receive real-time feedback and input from students.  Professors (or anyone giving a presentation) can create a presentation that people can follow along with on their apple device.  Using Nearpod, professors can weave interactive components into their presentations (more to come on this!)

So how does Nearpod work?

I found Nearpod to be extremely easy to use from both the instructor and student perspectives.   As the presenter, you will need to create a free account at nearpod.com.  When logging into Nearpod on a computer, you will have the ability to create a new presentation.  You can create a presentation from scratch or upload a pdf presentation, and in either case, you can supplement it with some neat Nearpod interactive features (almost getting to these!)

Once the professor begins sharing the presentation, Nearpod will display a PIN that the professor can provide to the students.  The students simply download the Nearpod app to their device (no account needed), type in the pin, and then follow along with the presentation.

What interactive features does Nearpod offer?

Professors can add interactive features such as Q&As, quizzes, videos, polls, and drawing tools.  With the Q&As, quizzes, polls, and drawing tools, the professors can see students’ responses in real time.  The drawing tool is particularly neat, as students can draw something from scratch or draw over a picture that the professor provides.  This is a great tool for students to map out their understanding of difficult concepts.  Professors can then see the drawings and share particular ones with the entire class.

Closing remarks

Nearpod definitely has a place in the college classroom.  It is a great way to combine a presentation with interactive features.  Since the professor uses his or her iPad to manage the presentation, he or she is free to walk around the room.  The two major drawbacks are that presentations cannot be altered on the fly and that students must have access to a mobile apple device.

-Jeffrey Taylor

 

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