Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Just in Time for Back to School: Nearpod Your Videos!

As we inch closer to the beginning of the school year, many of our favorite tools will start rolling out updates that make us love them even more. The first of these exciting announcements, for me, came from Nearpod. As of yesterday, they have incorporated interactive video moments into their already amazing presentation and student response tool. I was lucky enough to be in the beta testing group for this feature, so I am very excited to begin using it with students.

Nearpod already offered an easy-to-use platform for interactive presentations. Bring in a presentation, or build it in Nearpod, and add questions to gauge student understanding or weblinks, videos, and virtual field trips to deliver content and increase engagement. Now they have extended some of these interactive features specifically to videos.

Like presentations, you can grab a ready-made video from their library or bring in a video from YouTube, your computer, Google Drive and more. Once your video is loaded, click at various points on the video timeline to add an open-ended or multiple choice question. When you're all done, click Save. Then launch the video the same way you would a Nearpod presentation and deliver the 5-letter pin code to your audience.

When people watch the video, they will see a timeline across the bottom of the screen. Blue circles on the timeline indicate places where interactive elements are inserted so students will know when questions are coming. Questions pop up underneath the video and can be expanded to take up the full screen. Students can leave a question blank but they must submit an answer (or a blank answer) in order to continue the video. It is possible for students to rewatch portions of the video if needed. Want to see one? This sample will be available through September 30, 2020.

Once students have watched the videos, their answers are available in the Reports section of Nearpod. A very clean layout makes reading student answers easy. Navigation arrows in the upper right hand corner make jumping from question to question a breeze. The video report reminds me very much of what you see during a live lesson; it's easier to find what you need here than with a typical Nearpod report.

If you have used EdPuzzle or PlayPosit, you can probably already list some advantages of interactive videos. So far, this tool certainly does not do everything that those two do, but I like that this feature is now embedded in a tool I already love and my students regularly use. As I think about providing instruction this fall, and consider my options for experiments, I know I will use Nearpod's latest addition quite a bit. Plus, interactive video at Nearpod will continue to evolve, so I am expecting great things to come of this tool. I can't wait to see where it goes next!

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