Embracing Smart Devices in the Classroom with Nearpod

The landing page for the Nearpod app is simply designed.
The landing page for the Nearpod app is simply designed.

Nearpod is a useful app for teachers looking to harness their students’ smart devices as tools for participation in the classroom. With access to smart devices among students becoming nearly ubiquitous, educators say the app can turn distracting technology into an interactive teaching solution. Tech-savvy pupils can engage in interactive lesson plans streamed directly to their devices, the company says on its website. Teachers can create their own presentations or draw from a library of prepared lesson plans. Educators can also join a network of Nearpod Certified Educators to collaborate with other professionals.

Students can enter a lesson code to join their teacher’s presentation.
Students can enter a lesson code to join their teacher’s presentation.

Nonprofit education group Common Sense Media gives Nearpod four out of five stars with more than one-hundred positive user reviews, but the quality has a cost. The free version of the software comes with limited storage space, some free lesson plans, and access to a selection of lessons ranging from $2.99 to $24.99 each. The free version does allow teachers to transform their existing files into interactive presentations.

Nearpod offers a limited selection of free “VR Lesson” plans to take students on a virtual field trip.
Nearpod offers a limited selection of free “VR Lesson” plans to take students on a virtual field trip.

The least expensive paid membership is $120 annually with more storage but, again, includes limited access to pre-made lesson plans. The $349 annual membership comes with access to more than 6,500 lesson plans and other features. Entire schools can also buy content packages that produce reports for administrators along with in-person training and customer support.

Nearpod In the Classroom
Despite the cost, Nearpod offers beneficial learning tools:

  • Add polls, quizzes, and fill-in-the-blank questions to presentations
  • Use the real-time assessment tool to generate post-lesson reports on individual and classroom performance
  • Guide students through 360-degree adventures of landmarks such as the Taj Mahal with the VR Field Trip tool
  • Launch student-paced lessons that can be completed outside the classroom and at any time
Teachers can browse a selection of free and low-cost lesson plans.
Teachers can browse a selection of free and low-cost lesson plans.

Online teacher reviews show that even the free version of Nearpod can be useful for converting students’ personal devices into tools for classroom participation by turning a traditional slideshow presentation into an interactive experience.