Guest post by Faith Plunkett. Thanks Faith 🙂

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My name is Faith Plunkett and I am a fifth grade teacher at Monte Sano Elementary in Huntsville, Alabama. My school system was the largest in the United States to become 1:1. Every student in my classroom has a laptop, so I try to find the best online resources I can to inspire learning.

I first heard about Nearpod at EdCamp Madison last February. Since I taught technology part-time at the time, I never got to see the full benefits of using Nearpod until I got my full-time teaching position this January. I use Nearpod for all of my reading and most of my math lessons. Nearpod is definitely a tool that all teachers should know about, and best of all, it’s free!

I first started using Nearpod in my classroom because my students don’t have great access to my ActiveBoard. They were having a hard time seeing everything that was being displayed. I also started using Nearpod for the activities I can interject into my lessons. I want all of my students to have a voice and feel empowered to participate in the lesson. This gives them all a chance.

Making a presentation on Nearpod is simple. I go through my teacher’s manual and “clip” different pictures and post them on a powerpoint slide. I then add slides with our “I Can” statements, vocabulary words, and skills for the week. Next, I interject the activities. After my presentation is published, all I have to do is click on “live session” and have my students join in with a code. I don’t even need to create student accounts for them!

If you don’t have time to make a presentation, there’s a store with plenty of lessons to choose from. I have used a few free lessons on Friday afternoons as an end of the week wrap-up to expose my students to different things.

Nearpod is also a great tool for formative assessment. I can asses the students through quizzing, polls, short answers, and even drawings. I have my students draw a vocabulary word so I can check their comprehension. They love it because they have a chance to be creative. I can go back through the presentation after my students have left, and see a report of what exactly they answered.

My students love using Nearpod. They love the fact that they can see everything that’s being displayed, and that they can compete with other students during quiz time. I love Nearpod because it promotes engagement. I rarely have to get onto students for not paying attention during lessons, because they are engaged with Nearpod, and me. Their weekly test scores have increased since I started using Nearpod in January.

Overall, I would highly recommend using Nearpod. Yes it does take time to create a presentation, but it does highly engage our 21st century learners.

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