Monday, February 25, 2013

Nearpod in the Math Classroom

This week we have a guest post from Alicia Carter.  If after reading this you are interested in using NearPod please let me know.  We are looking into a small group of paid licenses.


One of the great challenges of the modern educator is in how to balance the use of technology and the content of their subject area. Our students are surrounded by a vast array of technology on a daily basis, technology that is an integral part of their lives. For many of us, our students are much more knowledgeable about the technology than we are! So how can we make use of these marvelous tools in a meaningful way that supports the curriculum? In PFAA this year, we are fortunate to have a cart of ipads that we can use in our classes. This is a tremendous opportunity to provide the students with exposure to technological tools!

This semester, I have been working with a new app called Nearpod. This application allows me to design an interactive presentation for the students and to “send it” out to the students’ devices. In my case, we are using the school ipads, but the program also works with phones and other mobile devices. I have experimented with using this program in both my sixth grade math classes and my Pre Algebra classes. At this point, we have used the app to review a chapter just before a test.

Here’s how it works! I open the program on my device and give the PIN number to the students. They use the PIN number to link to my device and then they are connected! Now, whatever I put on my screen is broadcasted out to all of the student devices. I control what they are looking at, and they can interact with the material, sending responses back to my device for me to see. In turn, I can select student responses that demonstrate a strategy I’d like to go over and display that on all of the students’ screens! There are also ways to place polls, videos, websites, and more in the presentations.

In the past, students have reviewed and done test prep by completing a series of practice problems in the book. The Nearpod lessons have been an incredibly effective tool in helping my students review material and prepare for their tests. They are more engaged and on task, interacting with the material, asking each other questions, and staying focused on the problems. Also, it is very easy for me to quickly and easily see which students are understanding and which are not simply by looking at the screen and the student responses. After completing the first review day using Nearpod, I asked the students which they preferred: doing the homework assignment from the book, or using the interactive app. They overwhelmingly responded that the interactive app was very helpful in preparing them for the test and that they felt more confident with the material as a result.

I am looking forward to seeing how this marvelous tool can be implemented moving ahead, perhaps even in the design of interactive lectures!


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