Can’t remember where I heard about Nearpod; I assume Twitter, but I feel like elsewhere. In any case, I finally got around to trying it out and, wow, does it have potential. You download the Nearpod app (free) to your iPad as teacher and have students download the app to their iPads (also free). You create a teacher account that links to the Nearpod website. You download content to the Nearpod app on your iPad, either from their library / store (some free, some not) or that you create (content can either be created natively on the Nearpod website, or you can upload .pdfs).

Ultimately, Nearpod is a content sharing tool, but it allows that content to be interactive (I’ve included screenshots of these features below). Your account automatically includes a slideshow that showcases Nearpod’s different functionality, so I set up one iPad as the teacher iPad and the other as the student. I should say here that both times I shared a presentation, my student iPad (the one receiving it) froze and had to be restarted. The second time, though, it downloaded the presentation successfully (I should also say that the student iPad is an iPad 1, so I’m not sure if that has anything to do with it).

When you launch a presentation, Nearpod assigns it a pin. You share this pin with your students who input it into the Nearpod app on their iPad, which then downloads the presentation. You get a list of students signed in (students are prompted for their name and an optional student id). As you swipe through your presentation, it swipes along on the student iPads. But what makes Nearpod stand out are the interactive features. There is a draw feature that allows students to draw on their screens (the example was to circle objects that begin with the letter ‘i’) and then the teacher iPad receives thumbnails of those drawings. There is a quiz feature, a poll feature, and a sharing website or images feature (the latter of which allows them to scroll through the images at their own pace). The interactive features must be created via the Nearpod website, and seem difficult, if not impossible, to integrate into an existing presentation. But Nearpod seems like a fantastic tool for one to one schools, and makes me a bit wistful that we didn’t go with iPads for our own 1:1.