Thursday, 9 February 2017

I Found a New Digital Tool & it is AWESOME!

So a few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about some digital tools that I'd newly discovered and was keen to use in my classroom.  One of those mentioned was Mentimeter.  It sounded great and I was so excited to use it.  I signed up and began creating my first interactive presentation.  I created two activities, and then it told me I needed to pay a subscription in order to add more.  Needless to say I was super gutted... and seriously considering paying. Instead, I did a quick Google search for similar digital tools.  I couldn't really find anything.

I randomly stumbled upon a digital tool when reading Jennifer Gonzalez's blog post about digital tools to use this year.  And I am so glad I did because I discovered Nearpod! It was Jennifer's number one pick, and I can see why!

Why Nearpod is so Great

As far as I can tell, Nearpod is basically free.  You can pay a subscription if you want even more features (collaborate, fill in the blanks and memory test), but the free version lets you create 'live lessons', using quizzes, open-ended questions, and polls.  Also, unlike Mentimeter, you can add in heaps of activities on one presentation.

It's really easy to use.  You create a new presentation and choose between creating a slide with content, web content of an activity.

The 'live version' of Nearpod is the free one, and it is the best option.  This is one that the teacher uses during a teaching session.  The difference between the live and student paced lesson is that the teacher controls the live version.

My Nearpod presentation

I created a Nearpod presentation to introduce my learners to explanation texts. The purpose was to discover whether my learners could identify an explanation text, and if they could explain why/why not a text was an explanation.

In my presentation was:

  • A slide with a screenshot of a text type 
  • A quiz, asking "Is this an explanation?"
  • An open ended question, asking "Why is this/is this NOT an explanation?"
So for every text type, there were three slides.  I had about 6 different text types (each with the screenshot, quiz and open-ended question).

Because I wanted my learners to collaborate, they were put in groups of 3 or 4. This meant that they could share their ideas before deciding on their answers.

How it went

I was surprised with how enthusiastic my learners were during this lesson! I knew it would help them to be engaged, but they were also super excited by the task.   Even my most reluctant learners were super engaged and wanted to see whether they got the quiz questions correct. They liked that they could see what each other got, and there were no 

Teacher's screen for quiz
Students' screen for the quiz

Teacher's screen for open-ended question

Students' screen for open-ended question

I realised that if the teacher's display was always on, then the students would see who got the right answers.  This could be a problem, as some students could wait to see what the other groups said and then choose the correct answer.  To avoid this, when it was the quiz time, I changed my tab to a student's screen.

Final thoughts

I think Nearpod might be my new favourite digital tool.  The level of engagement and enthusiasm it brought to my lesson was unlike any other tool I have used.  It was a great way to see what my learners already knew about explanations and to begin to form some ideas about the structure, content and features of explanation writing.  The students were motivated to take part, which was a massive win, as I have some reluctant learners.  I could also tell that they felt proud and very pleased with themselves, when they saw that they got a correct answer.

I will definitely be using this tool again. Students could even create their own presentations to show what they have learnt.


  1. Hi Chelsea,

    This looks awesome! It's always helpful to find new resources - I think my class shall be giving Nearpod a go :)

    1. Hi Danni,
      It was such a cool tool. My reluctant learners were practically screaming at me to scroll down and see whether they got the answers right haha. It was really engaging and lots of fun! You should totally give it a go and let me know how your learners respond to it :)


Tell me what you think!