Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dreaming of Nearpod

    Photo from Nicole Pierce on Flickr.

This post is part of the 30-Day Blog Challenge from TeachThought. To learn more about the challenge go to www.teachthought.com/teaching/reflective-teaching-30-day-blogging-challenge-teachers/.

DAY 2: Write about one piece of technology that you would like to try this year, and why. You might also write about what you're hoping to see out of this edtech integration.

Nearpod has been rattling around in the back of my mind for over a year now. When I first heard about the tool, I wasn't quite sure what it was. Is it just for a class to view presentations on their devices simultaneously? First of all, I don't really give synchronous lectures in my classes. Secondly, not all of my students had devices last year.

Fast forward to this past June when I was in Atlanta for ISTE2014. I thought to myself, "Hmmm, those Nearpod people are down that aisle (in the vendor's area). Maybe I should go figure out what this is really all about." It was then that I learned Nearpod isn't simply a platform for pushing out presentations. Instead, it's probably the most flexible tool for formative assessment that's out there right now. You can embed just about any type of file in a Nearpod presentation and then create all sorts of different interactives that go with it to assess what your students are learning from whatever was in the file. Some of these options are quizzes, polls, open-answer questions, and drawings by students.

So it hit me today that tomorrow's Biology class will be the perfect type of lesson to try with Nearpod. The students are just starting their Ecology lesson, which I'm framing around climate change this year. To get them thinking about what they already know about climate change, they will:

1) Study a graph of ocean and land temperature change over the last 200 years. Embedded photo in Nearpod.

2) As a team, decide on the claim that the graph is making and evidence for that claim. Good old-fashioned white-boarding.

3) Record what they already know about climate change. Web link to Answer Garden in Nearpod.

4) Read an article from USA Today, published in August, regarding the worsening impacts of climate change. Embedded pdf in Nearpod.

5) Record two main ideas from the article. Free response tool in Nearpod.

6) Circle in red the images that release carbon and circle in green the images that store carbon. Photo plus drawing tool in Nearpod.

I already made the big commitment and spent my $12 monthly fee to upgrade to a Nearpod "gold" account so that I could use some of the fancy features, so I'm hoping my students love it so much tomorrow that the cost is justified. If all goes well, I'm envisioning using the Nearpod homework feature for some of my flipped lessons as well.

I have big dreams for you Nearpod. Don't let me down!

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