“Near” and dear to the iPad classroom..

Nearpod is a great app to use in the classroom. There are numerous reasons to like it, but the best has to be because it lets you keep the students on task effortlessly. They move to the next “slide” when you move them. When the app is open you can see what the students are doing, and if they drop off of some reason, you know it.  So how do you prepare a Nearpod lesson? Well the easiest thing to do is to think of it initially as a “replacement” for those old PowerPoint files. Think about taking those old laptop lessons and converting them to your new environment. It is easiest to create lessons on a computer through a browser on their webpage. That’s confusing at first glance, because if you think iPad, you don’t necessarily think of doing your prep on the computer. You can recycle any of those old lessons by moving it to Nearpod and adding the interactives. Last year, my best Nearpod lessons were those tried and true intro and review lessons, oh, and the parent meeting introducing them to the iPad program 😉 Let me walk you through one of the lessons I created last year.

Our history curriculum in the eighth grade looks at twentieth century decades. To begin a look at the thirties, we would typically use a PowerPoint to give an introduction with some slides with images, dates and so forth. With Nearpod, it’s so easy to make it interesting.  I simply embedded a short video (of the Hindenburg), had a “quiz” about fashions, (do you like it that sort of thing) and used the drawing to let the students give interesting feedback. Let’s get creating!

  •  First step, open that old PowerPoint, and convert it to a PDF. Use the save as option and choose PDF as your file type. Put it somewhere on your computer so that you can easily locate it.
  •  Open up nearpod.com from a web browser on your computer. Log in, and click on the create tab at the upper right.
  •  Next, import that PDF file you created, it will serve as the “meat” of your new presentation.
  • Now for the fun stuff! Begin to add your interactives into your presentation. I usually have a quiz question early on, to keep the students on their toes.

    slide show addition choices
    *It’s sort of funny they call it add slide when really that is only one option!
  • Once you have completed your presentation you can click on publish. Note that once you move it to the published status, you can’t make any more changes to this copy. You will have to create a copy, and modify the copy. Not a big deal because you can always delete the published version once you are ready.
  •  Now that it’s published, you can open Nearpod from your iPad, log in as teacher (they combined the teacher and student versions last year) – you’ll see your pin to give to your students and you’re ready to roll.

With the new homework feature kids can view your presentation later. That’s really helpful because the earlier versions once the students left class, they would have no way to go back in and review the notes.  You can always email the PDF file to your students for their review, but they won’t contain the interactives you have added. My students were quick to figure out in the old version that if there was something they wanted to save they could just screen print the page (with simultaneous home and wake buttons) that would send the page as an image file straight to the camera roll. They would then open the image and mark it up in another app, like notability. They especially did this with graphs and timelines from the review sessions.  All in all, Nearpod is a great way to reinvigorate some of those old lesson plans, and create some new ones!

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