This is a guest post by Rachelle Dene Poth, Foreign Language teacher and Nearpod PioNear.
I have used Nearpod many times, but during the past few months, I had an opportunity to dive in and see what it can provide for student-led learning. As part of conference presentations, graduate coursework and lessons for my Spanish classes, I have a much greater understanding of its capabilities for instruction and the tremendous features it offers for education. At the end of the school year, after noticing a decrease in student engagement and motivation, I wanted to try some innovative, different methods of instruction.
Technology in our classroom: It has a purpose
Students work with many digital tools and choose how to showcase their learning. Using technology to provide authentic and meaningful learning experiences leads to an increase in student engagement, motivation, and content mastery. I am invested in providing diverse learning opportunities and look for innovative ways to introduce content and promote student choice. Students need to do more than just be receptors of information, they need to be creators! After reflecting on my practice and thinking about student needs, I had my students create a project using digital tools typically used by teachers to facilitate a lesson.
I first used Nearpod to review South American culture and verb tenses. The virtual field trips were fantastic and the students were much more engaged in the lesson. I then wondered how students would like creating a Nearpod lesson and taking control in the classroom, so I put them up to the challenge! After my students created and facilitated their Nearpod lessons, they had some fantastic feedback about using Nearpod as a tool for both teaching AND learning.
So what did the students say?
“I used Nearpod for a class project about South America, and the amazing virtual tours took my presentation to another level. I consider myself tech-savvy, but I’ve never seen anything like this; I’d recommend Nearpod to anyone wanting a real step-up from Powerpoints, Prezis, or Google Slides!” – Sydney
“As someone who finds technology unnecessary at times, I often do not enjoy using some of the tools I have in the past. Nearpod has really gotten me excited about the possibilities of technology in the classroom! Being able to take an adventure on virtual tours and experience culture first hand is something I have never been able to do before. Nearpod is a great tool for every classroom!” -Patrick
“Having so many choices for activities to use were educational and fun. Choices make learning more enjoyable for students. It provides more than just listening to a presentation, or watching a video, and not really being held accountable. I recommend Nearpod for other educators and anyone looking for a new way to present information. -Izabel
Learners to leaders
Using Nearpod means that learning is no longer confined to the traditional classroom setting, nor that the “teacher” is the only person providing instruction. Students were empowered in their learning. Seeing their transformation from learners to leaders was tremendous. The choice was theirs.