I’ve been recently introduced to Nearpod, and I can’t stop using it. It’s an amazing in-class presentation tool that allows learners to be actively involved as a teacher presents new content. And, it gives teachers a chance to assess learners’ understanding on the go.

How it works

Teachers basically sign up for an account on Nearpod’s website (link). After a teacher creates a presentation, a teacher launches a presentation live. When a presentation is live, a unique code will be generated automatically for this session. This code is  used by students to access the presentation via Nearpod’s apps on their smart devices.

There are many cool features this presentation tool offers:

  • You have full control over students’ view: when a teacher moves to slide #2, everyone connected will move to slide #2. No exceptions.
  • You can see who is on screen or who is idle (switched to another app, locked screen, etc.).
  • You can add quizzes, draw-it boards (whiteboards), open ended questions, and polls to your slides; all of which students can respond to and submit while you’re presenting.
  • Students’ answers are automatically displayed on your screen once they’re submitted. And you can share these submissions with everyone else to comment and give feedback.
  • Students’ submissions are saved and can be exported into reports (by presentation or by student) for your own records.
  • You can share presentations with students for their view later, on nearpod’s app as well.
  • ….and a lot more!

How to use it in a language classroom

The power of Nearpod in a language classroom, I believe, lies in the fact that you each and every student can submit their work to their teacher, and get immediate feedback. From my experience, this encourages students to take it seriously and try their best to produce something that the teacher can praise.

Also, if you’re teaching for a language test (like IELTS), it is very important to train students to work faster and not take their time. With Nearpod, you can impose the idea of time limits. Students will understand that unless they finish quickly, they will lose their work when the teacher moves to the next slide. It could be frustrating! *evil grin*

Keeping all of that in mind, Nearpod can be used used to introduce all sorts of language skills in an interactive manner. I’ve used it to introduce grammar structures, new vocabulary words, writing skills, and reading strategies.

Best Practices

I haven’t been using it long enough to know all the ins and outs of Nearpod, but from what I’ve experienced and seen with colleagues so far:

  • Nearpod is well-equipped to give your presentations a huge makeover. Do not use it to replicate your old ways! :) So, do not limit yourself to presentation slides. Utilize features that allow you to evaluate students’ understanding.
  • It could also be helpful to time students (manually) when they complete an activity. Otherwise, they could take a lot of time completing it. I usually use a timer (link), when time is up, I click on “share” and everyone is automatically locked out of edit mode.
  • There is a big difference between teacher view and student view. To avoid sharing more than you should, you can join your presentation as a student from your iPad and reflect your iPad onto the screen. This way what is on the smartboard is excatly what students see on their screen.
  • Nearpod’s report feature is a powerful tool. It allows you to see students’ submissions and keep track of them. Although I quickly check all answers as they are submitted in class and give feedback, I usually refer back to it after class to spot any students who are struggling, i.e., they submitted more than one wrong answer.