It's no secret to anyone who has ever read this blog that I am a big fan of Nearpod. If you are unfamiliar, Nearpod is one part presentation tool, one part student response system. You import your slides and then add interactive components like quizzes, polls, drawing, websites, and more. This week's update made this already great tool even better.
Today at the SPARCC conference, I led a session comparing Nearpod and Pear Deck. I also compared them in a previous post. They are similar tools with many similar features. I like them both a lot and use them both in my classroom. Both combine slides with interactive components. Both export reports. Both integrate nicely with Google. Sometimes there is a tradeoff: Nearpod has better classroom management features, but Pear Deck allows teachers to ask questions on-the-fly, altering the prepared, planned lesson as necessary with spontaneous follow-up questions. But now Nearpod users can do that too.
With this latest update, instant questions and other components have come to Nearpod. While inside a live presentation, you click (or tap) the blue Nearpod at the top of the screen to see the instant options.
You can ask a True/False or Open-Ended Question, send everyone to a website or send an impromptu slide (complete with text or drawing or images from your files or Google), or send participants a Draw It slide. I love the idea that I can quickly draw something and send it out or take a drawing and screenshot it and send it to all the participants for corrections and additions. The ability to ask instant questions really increases the value of the tool because it implies that instruction is changing to meet the needs of the learners; it's not just a stagnant, pre-packaged plan.
I hate to sound greedy, but I would love to see polling added to the instant options. I love the idea of being able to ask students if they agree or disagree with discussion points or if they think a problem solving strategy would or would not work. I tried to use the True/False option like this, but you have to indicate a correct answer, so it has a different feel.
The app update also says that you can follow authors you like and receive notifications of when they have new content available. I haven't figured out how to do that yet, but, if you do, and you like chemistry, consider following me. As of today, I have 15 NPPs available in the store.