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  • D. Barkes

5 Ways to Leverage the Power of Nearpod in your Online Classroom


Online education, if you haven't already noticed, is growing at a rapid pace. This summer, schools are being faced with the challenge of how to start the upcoming school year. Will they open their doors to students or will students once again learn from home? Regardless of what next school year looks like, there is a tool that works for any scenario...Nearpod!

Nearpod in the classroom is awesome, but Nearpod online is just as awesome!

Nearpod

Many of you may be familiar with Nearpod already in your traditional classrooms. You may have walked around your classroom in awe as you delivered a lesson to each student's device. You have seen them interact with Nearpod, viewed data in real time, and probably even adjusted your lessons based on the real time data you were getting back from your kids. Nearpod in the classroom is awesome, but Nearpod online is just as awesome! Learn 5 ways to leverage the power of Nearpod for your online classroom below!




Student Paced Lessons

I know this is obvious to experienced users of Nearpod, but it has to be mentioned. The best way to launch a lesson for your online classroom is through a student-paced lesson. However, there are some "pro tips" I would recommend before you post your lesson. First, adjust the number of days that the lesson is available. The standard number of days a lesson is available is 29 days, and I promise, despite your best efforts, students will access a Nearpod late and you will have to go in and reset the code. Just go ahead and click on the blue "29 days remaining" and extend that out a few weeks on the calendar. You will thank me later. Second, embed the Nearpod in your learning management system (LMS). I can't walk you through exactly how that looks on your LMS, because each one is different. However, if you ask your school's instructional coach or tech person, they will be super impressed! On the Nearpod end, when you select student paced mode, there are sharing options across the bottom. One of these options is embed. Copy that code and paste it into your LMS page. Why do this? Well, I have found that students are much more likely to access the Nearpod when there is a window on the page that displays the Nearpod, instead of expecting them to click a link. Finally, when sharing a student paced lesson on your LMS, be sure to provide students with the code as well. They won't need the code if they plan to complete the lesson within your class page, but it is nice to let the students know they can use the code provided to complete the lesson on a mobile device. Everyone likes options!


Collaborate Boards & Flipgrid

One major element of all online classrooms should be an element of community, and element of collaboration. When students are working from home, we still want them to feel connected to their peers. Be sure to include opportunities for students to discuss and collaborate with their peers. Nearpod provides this opportunity within their collaborate boards. However, you will want to make sure that you turn the feature on for student-paced mode. Once you have turned on the collaborate feature in your settings, be sure to add an activity slide and load in a Flipgrid. Nearpod recently made it easy to load your Flipgrid into your Nearpod lesson. Don't know what Flipgrid is? Learn more here! Need help loading your Flipgrid into your Nearpod lesson? Learn how here! (Want to know how I made the Gif below? Be sure to read to the end!)




Add Web Content

There are so many awesome things on the internet to make learning amazing! In Nearpod, when you look to add a slide, there is an option for Web Content. However, I don't think many teachers utilize it like they should. Linking out to an article or a document is OK, but what if we linked out to more interactive content?!? Remember, online learning, just like your classroom should be fun! News flash...for most kids, reading the "super important" document you found is a big snoozefest. Instead, share links to awesome interactive content like Google Earth Voyager or send them on a scavenger hunt in the Atlanta History Centers "War in Our Backyards" interactive map. One of the keys to teaching online is finding engaging resources for our students. Fortunately, Nearpod allows you the opportunity to link out to amazing content! Have other interactive content that you have linked to in Nearpod, please share with me on Twitter @teachandcoachga.



Video & Audio

When you build Nearpod lesson, remember your audience. As teachers, we often focus on the content we need to deliver and forget about the audience consuming that content. Either search for or create your own amazing content. If you are making your own videos, I highly recommend Apple Clips. It is a free app on Apple mobile devices. If you haven't used Clips before, check out my post on Clips here. If you are searching for videos, please avoid the teacher with the powerpoint slides reading over their content. Please don't put your students through that misery. Instead, look for videos that add elements of fun...remember, learning should be FUN! Anything Crash Course is great and if you teach social studies, be sure to check out Steve Heimler from Heimler's History. His content is fantastic! OK...I also mentioned audio above. What does that mean? At points throughout your Nearpod lesson you are going to have written content. However, limit the amount of content you put on each slide. If you want to go into more detail about something, use the record audio feature found at the bottom of the slide. Too much content on a slide is overwhelming for a student, but a little content and you explaining the deeper points by recording audio for the slide in Nearpod makes a huge difference for your students. Need examples of what I mean? Check out a Nearpod that I built that covers the Civil War.



Fun

Throughout this post, I have mentioned the word fun several times. That wasn't by accident. Sometimes as teachers, I think we forget how excited we were to teach our class on day one. The excitement to meet or students and the excitement to share the "awesomeness" that we already knew with them. At some point, many of us became the teacher we always told ourselves we wouldn't be. Maybe we were beat down by life, the bureaucracy of education, a complaining parent, or those PDs you are required to attend where you don't really learn anything valuable. There are lots of reasons to forget that very first day. However, there are also many reasons why we should be invigorated every day. Those kids sitting in your classroom or behind a computer want to experience the "awesomeness" that you know. They want to laugh, they want to have fun, and they want to experience the joy of learning that you so desperately wanted to share with your students. Bring that joy back to students, bring that fun back to students. Make your lessons awesome with Nearpod!


Thank you!

Writing these posts over the past several years has brought me a tremendous amount of joy. I have interacted with so many of you on Twitter and through messages here on the site. I want to say thank you! I hope that you have learned a little bit from me, and I hope that you have been inspired to search for ways to bring fun and joy to your classroom or online classroom. Writing for my blog has been a huge help for me as an educator. It has provided a sounding board to share my thoughts and ideas and has given me a voice that I didn't have before. If you have awesome and inspiring content you would like to share with teachers, please let me know. I would love to collaborate with you and share your content on Twitter and to the subscribers here at Teach & Coach Ga. If you don't already, please subscribe to the website, and if you enjoy the content, please share it with a friend. You can also find me on Twitter @teachandcoachga. Want to know how I made the Gif above? Check out my friend PK Graff's website Gifamous on how to create Gifs for your students! PK is also a great follow on Twitter. Check him out at @the_Ch3m1st. Thank you as always for reading.

Have an awesome day!

D. Barkes


Cumming, GA 30028

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