In this blog, Heather Austin – a teacher at Dolvin Elementary School in Fulton County, GA – describes how she uses Nearpod to personalize learning in her classroom.
In a classroom of 18 elementary students, it can be difficult to address the needs and interests of everyone. Lucky for me, my whole school has a Nearpod subscription, which enables me to personalize learning for my students with ease. I have 8 iPads and 6 desktop computers for my students, and I use Nearpod during rotations in reading and math throughout the year.
In my classroom, I set up a weekly series of rotations that students spend their time completing. The assignments are broken up between “must do’s” and “can do’s”, and the “can do’s” allow students to have voice and choice in what they are creating. The students complete one rotation each day, which consists of one must do and one can do activity of their choosing.
For my “must do’s”, I use student-paced Nearpod lessons to assign students activities at their instructional level on topics they need to practice. With Nearpod’s student-paced mode, my students complete their activities at their own pace, and I still receive data via Nearpod reports to evaluate whether students are on track, exceeding expectations, or if they need additional assistance on a specific learning objective.
I plan Nearpod lessons based on the needs of individual students. If one student needs to work on adjectives and adverbs and another student needs to work on writing complete sentences, their assignments reflect this differentiation. I simply launch the Nearpod lesson and place the pin code on my choice board for students to complete based on their learning needs. Nearpod has many lessons available on their platform to help me with my personalized learning plans.
After completing their Nearpod rotation, students login to Seesaw to reflect on their learning. They write about what they learned and how they feel about their progress, and respond to others students’ comments to provide feedback or suggestions on how they can improve. This is a great peer learning opportunity that originates with the Nearpod lessons they completed during class, and ends with reflection and peer feedback on Seesaw. Together, my students work to improve as learners and to strengthen their conceptual understanding.
Now, you might be thinking “how challenging was it to set up a classroom like this?” At the beginning of the year, challenges included limited devices, facilitating independent work, and teaching students the different apps I wanted to use on a daily basis. Now, rotations run very smoothly with few challenges. The initial investment up front saved me time and increased student engagement throughout the year.
My students love the interactive activities on Nearpod, and they engage my entire class in both student-paced and teacher-paced lessons. Nearpod is easy to use, and it makes my life easier as a teacher. Many lessons are already made and ready to teach, and if I can’t find what I am looking for, I can easily create one my own from my teaching resources or edit a Nearpod lesson to fit my students’ needs!