Nearpod: the Perfect Focus for an Unfocussed Class
Brooklands Primary School, Trafford, England
Year six teacher Helen explains why she registered for the Nearpod Free Trial and how Nearpod has supported her teaching with maintaining focus and lesson engagement for her otherwise restless year six pupils!
I watched a Nearpod lesson carried out by my colleague while using the free version during the lockdown, and it looked good. I’ve been looking for something to engage quite a rowdy class.
A Perfect Fit
“Nearpod emerged as the perfect solution and, so far, Nearpod has been AMAZING with my class.”
I teach year six, and there is much writing for pupils by the end of Key-Stage 2. Getting an already restless class of year sixes to focus on a writing assignment can be pretty challenging.
Therefore, breaking up excessive writing tasks with interactive activities that keep pupils focussed on learning is very helpful. So Nearpod emerged as the perfect solution and, so far, Nearpod has been AMAZING with my class.
Because the attention span of my pupils is quite limited, I needed to find a solution that, unlike many learning management systems I’ve tried in the past, offers something new and interactive every day, not just the same thing.
With Nearpod, you can do so many different things, and my pupils have so much fun with Nearpod and are constantly engaged with learning which I can monitor in real-time.
Collaboration and Communication
“With Nearpod’s Collaborate Board, I can pinpoint notes that pupils add to the top based on the answers or discussion points that I think are most appropriate.”
The Collaborate Board from Nearpod is so much better than other collaborative whiteboard platforms I’ve used.
With other collaborative programmes, pupils can move things around at any time, which can be infuriating; the lesson ends up becoming behaviour management for not messing around on the programme.
With Nearpod’s Collaborate Board, I can pinpoint notes that pupils add to the top based on the answers or discussion points that I think are most appropriate. The Collaborate Board then allows me to order pupils’ uploaded notes by the most useful answers.
Having pinned notes on the Collaborate Board provides a visual outcome for pupils to see their peers’ correct or most appropriate answers. Pupils can then look through the pinned notes, and, as a class, we use these answers to inform the rest of the lesson and to look back and recap on previous lessons.
My more able pupils can utilise Nearpod to engage with learning activities independently in the same lesson, allowing me to monitor their activity while supporting pupils who need additional support.
Having this overview of real-time learning and activities, as a teacher, I can sit and provide a teacher-led lesson with pupils who are still developing their understanding of a topic. In contrast, pupils who’ve already demonstrated knowledge can continue to build on their learning independently.
“The main feature for my class is that Nearpod allows pupils to engage with learning at their own pace.”
Nearpod is so helpful for students to go back through previous lessons that I’ve created to see the notes we made as a class and their individual notes.
Nearpod makes it easy to flick through previous pages and lessons to recap and then conduct new and varied activities on the learning topic. There’s always something new for pupils to engage with on Nearpod.
For pupils where it is often easy for them to become disengaged with learning, this is not the case with Nearpod. On the contrary, the language activities in Nearpod help these pupils to fill in the gaps in their understanding of the learning topic.
It’s easy for my pupils to pick up and revise the language of the current topic with creative activities on memorising keywords, and most importantly, they really enjoy these activities.
The main feature for my class is that Nearpod allows pupils to engage with learning at their own pace. I have full transparency of evidence of their learning at all times, and the game and activities within Nearpod help pupils recap and affirm their understanding of each learning topic.
There’s no need to load other websites or programmes in other apps, which can take ages to load and often end up crashing anyway. With Nearpod, pupils have all learning and information in one centralised palace, which is excellent when your pupils are best suited for focussing on one thing at a time!
At Brooklands Primary School, we implement an enquiry based curriculum. With Nearpod, we can pose a focussed question at the start of every new learning topic. So often, for all pupils to produce the necessary learning outcomes, there is a lot of knowledge to wade through to get to the key points.
With Nearpod, I can control all of this information and knowledge within the sequence of the whole learning topic. Furthermore, I can manage which websites and items of information pupils can explore to get the necessary answers they need to answer the learning outcomes of the current topic.
Fundamentally, in my series of lessons in Nearpod, I can control the balance between information base learning and fact-finding coupled with the fun and engagement of the activities and games.
Monitor and Track Engagement in Real-Time
“The ‘Draw It‘ feature from Nearpod gives pupils the same opportunity to share their answers in one place, saving me the time of handing out the mini-whiteboards to each pupil and then collecting them back!”
Nearpod allows me to monitor and track pupils’ learning rates. For example, where pupils are progressing at a slower pace but are still focused on the same learning outcomes as the rest of the class, I can assign those pupils who have moved further to support their peers.
Nearpod makes constructing lesson plans and sequencing easy. At first, I assumed Nearpod was learning activities and games for pupils, which was a feature of interest. But, I didn’t realise there is much more to it, such as adding links, PDFs and websites to promote student self-research while monitoring their activity and keeping them on track.
The Draw It features from Nearpod is another excellent way to collect topic-specific understanding. We’ve always used mini-whiteboards per pupil to illustrate answers and knowledge at the end of a lesson or topic.
Draw It from Nearpod gives pupils the same opportunity to share their answers in one place, saving me the time of handing out the mini-whiteboards to each pupil and then collecting them back! I find it much easier to organise every pupil’s answer, and it saves me time by receiving the responses in real-time.
With Draw It, I can also pick certain pupils’ answers and develop on those within Nearpod while having all of the information, websites and links already in one place, allowing us to reflect on each answer and their relevance to the topic as a class.
I’ve recently used Nearpod to present a staff meeting, and that really turned my colleagues’ heads because with Nearpod, I was able to keep the attention and engagement of sixty grown adults, and I think they realised how powerful this could be with keeping a class of thirty children engaged.
Making Learning Accessible for All
“With Nearpod, some of my pupils have thrived in maths with not having boundaries and writing restrictions to give their answers and when showing their workings out.”
We’re fortunate to have 1:1 Chrome Books for every pupil. Still, I know Nearpod works on different devices such as iPads making it more accessible for schools that might not have as comprehensive device distribution for all pupils.
Nearpod provides my pupils with an alternative way to record their answers and engage with learning outside of writing on paper, which for the majority of them, can be a big ask in the afternoon when they’re overstimulated and have far too much energy!
With Nearpod, I can monitor everything they’re answering or engaging with at all times, from short answers in Draw It activities to more open-ended and comprehensive answers and discussions on the Collaborate Board.
Also, while using Nearpod, pupils don’t realise how much it supports their spelling and grammar as Nearpod will offer suggestions for typos and incorrect phrases.
For many of my pupils, writing can be intimidating, especially when they’re unsure how to spell certain words. But they don’t have this anxiety with Nearpod as they know it will correct them, subsequently allowing them to learn from their mistake.
Nearpod is especially useful for cross-curricular learning. For example, some terminologies in subjects like history can deter pupils from writing. But, with Nearpod, pupils remain engaged throughout the whole lesson and are always willing to have a go at every task.
Similarly, it is standard to use grid paper when carrying out numeracy tasks with maths. However, for some pupils whose writing skills are not adequately formed, this paper can be pretty restrictive for them.
With Nearpod, some of my pupils have thrived in maths with not having boundaries and writing restrictions to give their answers and when showing their workings out.
In addition, Nearpod allows me to set up multiple choice quizzes and polls for maths questions, which significantly suits some of the pupils’ learning styles. The data from their answers subsequently contributes to the formative assessment of each pupil’s progress in maths.
To begin your Full Access Free Trial of Nearpod for the whole spring term, click here.
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