Alternatives to Clickers for Digital Assessments: Nearpod

Third in the “Alternatives to Clickers for Digital Assessments” series, this post will introduce you to Nearpod.  I have to say that I was in love with this tool when it was strictly an iPad app, but now that they have made it web-based as well, I’m even more infatuated with it.  Nearpod is a FREE presentation/activity/assessment tool…it does it all!  The presentations you create through Nearpod are called Nearpod Presentations, or NPPs for short.  Once you’ve created your presentation, your students download the NPP to their devices (any web-enabled) by entering a short session code and then you, THE TEACHER, are in control.  As you move through the presentation, your students are automatically moved with you.  SUPER COOL!  I have to say that this is the tech tool that teachers AND students are most excited about when I model lessons.  The younger students can’t believe that the pictures move without them touching them, and the older students love being able to do everything right from within one app.  One second grader exclaimed, “It’s magic!” and all attention was then on the lesson at hand.

Mail Attachment  The basic subscription, called the Silver edition, allows a teacher up to 50MB of storage, with presentations no larger than 20MB.  Also with the free account, you can have up to 30 students per live session (I’ve had up to 40 and it still worked), and your reports are generated in PDF format.  An upgraded account, the Gold edition, is available for $10 per month, which gives you more storage, more students per live session, and a CSV download option for your reports.  You also get more content features, which are great, but not a necessity.  There are also options for whole school and district accounts.

To create a NPP, you can start from scratch, or upload a PDF version of a presentation you’ve created in Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple’s Keynote, your specific interactive whiteboard software, or Google Presentation.  (I plan all my NPPs using Google Docs and Presentations so if I run out of storage in my account and have to delete some NPPs, all of my information is ready the next time I need it and I can easily recreate the deleted NPPs.)  I love the fact that you can just drag and drop the file onto the Nearpod page and it’ll automatically start uploading.  You can also create pages within Nearpod from jpg and png files.  Once your presentation has uploaded, you can then add videos, polls, whole quizzes, “Draw-Its”, and open ended questions.  The creation process is very intuitive and fast.  Once you’ve dragged your slides to order them, all that is left to do is publish and deliver.  When your NPP is published and you’re ready to deliver it to your students, you’ll “launch” it either from the website or iOS app.  You’ll receive a short code that your students will use to access the presentation.  Once students are logged in, you’ll be able to track when anyone leaves the presentation, which is an AWESOME feature.  So that’s the basics of Nearpod, but you can’t understand the full power of the program without seeing it in action.  So check out the short demonstration video directly below.  I’ve also included some screenshots of the teacher view under the view.  After watching it, I have no doubt that you’ll head straight over to Nearpod, register for your free account, and create your first NPP.  If you do, please come back and let us know how it went by leaving a comment below.

Nearpod Teacher View Screenshots

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Presentation slide previews are housed on a scroll bar below the larger view of the slide that students currently see.  You can click on any slide and then click “Share” to move in a non-linear way through the NPP.

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When students sign in, you’ll see a list of names on the second screen.  Also not the green people icon in the top, left corner.  If that turns red it means that a student has exited the NPP.  You can click on it to see which student.

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While students are taking quizzes within the NPP, you see which question all students are currently on, what answers they’re choosing, if they’re getting questions right or wrong (they’re green for correct, red for incorrect), and you have an overall preview via the pie chart at the top of the screen.

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When you’ve assigned your students at “Draw It”, you get a preview of their screens when they click submit.  If someone has done a particularly wonderful job and you’d like to share, or if someone submits something thought-provoking, you can click on their picture and share it with the whole class.  The name of the student will not be visible.

Miss the other posts in the “Alternatives to Clickers for Digital Assessments” series?  Check them out!

Extreme Collaboration


Google Forms, Conditional Formatting and Flubaroo