As a middle school math teacher embarking on year four of teaching in a one-to-one iPad classroom, I have settled into a handful of apps and digital tools that meet many classroom needs for instruction, assessment, content creation, communication and all-around math learning. Of all the tools at my disposal, my favorite is Nearpod.
Nearpod is an interactive presentation and assessment tool. Teachers can use the platform to create presentations that include interactive elements – video, graphics and drawing boards – as well as assessment exercises, such as quizzes and polls. Nearpod provides a number of ways for you to let students participate in activities and demonstrate what they know. Here are a few best practices to help you and your students get the most from this tool:
- Balance static slides with plenty of assessment activities. While Nearpod is a great platform to deliver information, its true strength is in gathering feedback from students. Use the tool’s open-ended question or quiz features to assess specific concepts and the poll function to gauge students’ opinions. Use “Draw It” to elicit work samples. This feature lets you send every student to the “virtual board” to work a problem.
- Share student results. Students benefit from seeing what others in the class are thinking too! Consider projecting the pie graph that’s generated from a quiz or anonymously sending work samples to all students’ screens to facilitate discussion and authentic error analysis.
- Create Nearpod templates. Get more mileage from your Nearpod presentation by building templates for common classroom routines. For example, a Nearpod template for homework review might include one static slide with directions and classroom expectations; a “Draw It” slide, on which students work a specific problem from the homework assignment; and a poll slide asking students to rank their current level of understanding of the topic at hand.
Need more ideas for using Nearpod in math instruction? Here are some additional resources I’ve put together:
- One Best Thing, an e-book on monitoring progress using Nearpod. Available at no charge through the iTunes store.
- Nearpod “Best Practices” For Math Class
- Desmos, Nearpod, ThingLink, and the Kitchen Sink
- Transformations and “Animations”
Cathy Yenca (known online as “Mathy Cathy”) is a middle school mathematics teacher in a one-to-one iPad classroom at Hill Country Middle School in Eanes Independent School District in Austin, Texas. Yenca is a proud member of the Apple Distinguished Educator Class of 2013, a Nearpod author, a Book Creator Ambassador, and a ThingLink Expert Educator. She documents her iPad adventures and shares technology integration ideas for student engagement and assessment at her blog, MathyCathy.
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