Using nearpod

Nearpod is one of those apps that I’ve heard other teachers talking about on Twitter. I sort of thought that it wasn’t really for me until I was in a 1:1 environment and then even at that I thought it’s use would be quite limited because my pupils are so young. 

I was wrong. 

Well, maybe not about the 1:1 thing. You would definitely need to have one device per child in your group unless you want collaborative answers, which maybe you do want. 

Today I taught a lesson that just worked. It was so simple. It had minimal bells and whistles but it covered what I wanted it to cover and was engaging and motivating. 

It’s Chinese New Year today and I wanted to talk about that with my class, telling the story of why the years are all named after animals. I normally just use a PowerPoint on the the interactive whiteboard but this year I nearpodised it. 

I still had a PowerPoint, but it was shown on individual iPads. I controlled the pace that it progressed. The pupils could zoom in on details but couldn’t whizz on through or lag behind. We talked about the story as we went along, just like we would with any story. When all the animals had been introduced children liked zooming in and out on them, finding them on their slide as I mentioned them. It was a bit like a guided reading lesson but on iPads. 

Part way through the story I added a draw it activity, children were given a copy of the slide introductory the animals as a canvas and they had to draw a circle around the one they thought would win. It was quick and easy but engaging and more motivating than just answering it verbally as a question. Children especially seen to like sending me their answer and knowing that it magically appears under their name on my iPad. 

After the story I had added a memory matching activity. Two things we are working on are visual discrimination and memory so this works well. I had 12 animal pairs and had just used the game set up in nearpod itself to make it. 

Honestly the lesson took maybe twenty minutes to prepare. The most complicated thing was the set up as I had to open nearpod on all the kids iPads, type in the pin for the live session and help type in names. That was it. 

Then we watched some video clips of dragon and lion dances to see how people celebrate Chinese New Year around the world. Surprisingly one of the best animated videos of Chinese New Year is from Panda Express. It’s really useful. 

My class loved the whole lesson. It wasn’t gimmicky. There were no big hooks. Just technology working well to help teaching and learning. It doesn’t rate highly on SAMR model, probably just an augmented lesson, but it was definitely enhanced from what it would have been. Motivating, engaging and a lesson my pupils will remember. 

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