I kid you not – when I say, “Get out your iPads and go to Nearpod” my 8th graders literally say, “YESSSSS!” and give a little fist-pump… every time. It’s not necessarily Nearpod that they love, but the peer interactions and instant feedback it facilitates. In a nutshell, making your Nearpods about “them” and not about “you” is the way to go. Think about what the students will be doing versus what you, as the teacher, will be doing. Students should be engaged and have ample opportunity to show what they know during any NPP (Nearpod presentation).
Perhaps having a few days away from the classroom is getting those creative juices going in the minds of math teachers. This week I’ve been contacted several times by different math folks all aspiring to use Nearpod in their mathematics classrooms. Even more specifically, mathy people are wanting to use Nearpod more effectively, and have asked me for ideas regarding “Nearpod Best Practices” in the mathematics classroom.
Here are some excerpts from e-mails I’ve been sending to individuals – I hope these first-hand experiences and tips will help as you Nearpod in the New Year!
Yes, I just used Nearpod as a verb.
Nearpod ≠ PowerPoint
It’s tempting to just refresh those digital presentations you might already have by dumping them into Nearpod. This idea in and of itself isn’t a bad one, but if there are more static slides than opportunities for student input, your Nearpod may fall flat. I’ve had success in limiting the number of “static” slides in a NPP and adding lots of assessment tools that constantly gauge student thinking.
In my humble opinion, Nearpod is best used as a segment of a lesson, not the ENTIRE lesson. Consider a Nearpod at the start of class to pre-assess or review homework. Consider a Nearpod to introduce a topic. Or, use Nearpod to review and assess after a lesson has taken place. Just as a PowerPoint or Keynote shouldn’t last 50 minutes, a NPP shouldn’t either.
Nearpod “Draw” = Instant Error Analysis
It’s really not about the NPP – it’s about the peer relations Nearpod facilitates with ease. ”Draw” doesn’t have to mean “draw a picture” – mathematical work can be “drawn” too! Present some content, then ask the students to solve a problem and “draw” what they know. (AKA “show your work!”) This allows you to virtually send every student to the board! Think of the paper “exit ticket” of the past, but administered when needed during a lesson (rather than only at the end) with instant digital work samples from every student (rather than annoying little piles of paper to sort in hopes of helping your students tomorrow.) Nearpod redefines the “exit ticket” concept completely.
Don’t be selfish and keep all of those awesome work samples to yourself. Launch correct and incorrect work to ALL students’ screens so discussion can immediately ensue. Consider framing each anonymous, launched work sample by saying, “Tell me something you like about this student’s work, and then tell me something you don’t like about it.” Or, “Tell me something you notice about this problem, and then tell me something you’re still wondering about.” Students are happy to comment on their peers’ work, especially in an error-analysis mode. Being able to scan instant student work samples is powerful data for the teacher, but gains the MOST power when shared with students to encourage rich mathematical discussions. Trust me, they are very happy to comment on their peers’ work.
Nearpod “Polls” and “Quizzes” = Positive Peer Pressure
Students also love polls and quizzes, but please don’t keep that pretty pie chart to yourself! When launching a poll or quiz, I put my iPad under the document camera and zoom in so only the moving pie chart is visible on the screen at the front of the class. They LOVE this – we even have weird sayings about these graphs during “quizzes”. Since green sectors indicate correct submissions, and red sectors show incorrect submissions, my students yell for “key lime pie” (green) and get all worked up when a graph starts turning red (“No! No more cherry pie! C’mon guys!!!”) This is a silly thing that has developed in my own classroom, and they really do like it… and own it. Peer pressure plays a positive role in Nearpod “quizzes” and “polls”.
Do you feel like your Nearpods are boring? Here are some questions to consider:
- Do you have enough interactive features in your NPPs versus static slides of information?
- Do you try using Nearpod for shorter spurts of the lesson rather than for an entire class period?
- Do you encourage student dialogue as a key part of Nearpod experiences?
- Do you display class data for everyone to see, versus keeping it only on your own screen?
I’d love to hear how you’re using Nearpod with success in the mathematics classroom! Feel free to comment below.
To hear me share more “Nearpod love” check out this interview.