Thursday, October 22, 2015

Nearpod, I love you!

If you haven't played around with, you must.  You will fall in love with this website.  I learned about nearpod when I attended EdCamp 605.  People were talking about this "new" website that the students loved and the teachers loved, too.  Of course, I had no idea what this site was and when they compared it to kahoot I thought, this could be fun.  Others said, it's powerpoint on steroids, I thought of Prezi.  Well, the description of a powerpoint on steroids, does not do this site justice.

After attending EdCamp, (if you've read my previous posts, you know that's another thing I love) the next morning with my husband still snoozing away, I fixed myself a cup of coffee and thought let me just check out what all of the excitement's about.  After I signed up, I still didn't quite understand what this site did.  I had to explore, do the same, you won't regret it.  When you click on "Explore", this takes you to a ton of lessons.  There are many free lessons, so don't purchase right away.  I suggest getting a free one.  When you do, it will go into your "library". I suggest you go to your library click on it, then assign it as homework.  When you do this it will give you a session code.  Open another tab and log in as a student and navigate through the lesson.  If you aren't impressed with that lesson, try another, you're bound to be impressed.  OK, I thought, this is cool.

But I couldn't find a lesson that fit quite what I wanted.  So, I decided I'd create one.  My students had just finished reading James and the Giant Peach, I hadn't taught them much about the author.  I went in and got to work, within 20 minutes I created a complete lesson.  I couldn't wait to go in to use it.  The kids absolutely loved it.  I assigned it as a live presentation, in this mode, you control which "slide" they look at.  I embedded a video and was not sure how that would work, as students in my district are not allowed to go on youtube.  So, in this case, the video did not play on their chromebooks, but because I controlled the screen I just had them all look up at the smartboard and we watched the video together.  As students finish each "slide" you get instant results.   When they are all done, you can click on "reports" and see everyone's results.  Love it.

So, I learned that in "live" mode I control the screen, in "homework" mode the students go at their own pace.  In live mode, if a child accidentally exits out they can go right back in and it picks right back up (not true in homework mode).  The session code is always in the left corner of your screen.  Or they have now learned they can look at a neighbor's screen and at the end of their url is the session code.

I was using it for math, absolutely loved it.  As I had not had "drivers" and "navigators" before on a shared device, I began my lesson with the video on pair coding.  We were doing multiplication using the area model.  I created a word document with the multiplication problem on top and a rectangle for the area model, then I uploaded it onto a "draw it" slide.  I played it in "live" mode, they then had to work together in pairs to solve the math problem.  I showed their answers on the smartboard.  Of course there were a few wrong answers, which I thought was great LEARNING MOMENT!  We worked through the incorrect problems and found the mistake.  There was such great interaction between the pairs of students.  They were so engaged.  My principal walked in while they were doing this math lesson.  She asked what they were doing. I told her and she stayed for the whole lesson.  She was very impressed how every single student in my classroom was engaged in the lesson.

So playing you may find these things that you are not impressed with:  when you assign the fill-in the blank activity you can not see their results and when you share a lesson you created with another teacher they can only view it not assign it to their class.  I contacted the company and asked about this.  If you have the paid version, you get all of those things.  Right now they are having a sale, purchase 10 licenses get 10 free, in my view that is an awesome deal.

I have told my entire site about this website and every teacher I come in contact with.  This is a super easy to use and navigate resource.  I hope you fall in love with it too!

Don't forget to check out my store at TeachersPayTeachers.

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