24 August 2015

Sra. Spanglish Tech Tips: Nearpod

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Like interactive notebooks, Nearpod has streamlined my thinking about what I present to my students.

It's true that I was put off by Nearpod's simplicity at first, but the more I use it, the more useful I find the simplicity. It's kind of like HaikuDeck in that it makes sure you ONLY have digestible chunks of text AND that you're spending your time on communicating important information instead of funny clipart, fonts, and transitions.

What's more, I've found a few strategies in my first two weeks with Nearpod that I think can make it even more effective than presentation methods from the past.

1. Start class with open ended questions
Not only are open-ended Nearpod questions a great way "test" knowledge as recommended in Make It Stick,, but this way students are also already signed in from the start.

In order for students to engage with a live session, they use the Join Session code provided whenever you go live, but they don't enter their names until you get to an interactive slide!

You could ask students target language questions they should know how to answer in the target language, refresh focus vocabulary, or maybe even add on to a story! Either way you're engaging their brains by having them call up prior knowledge as Brown et al recommend AND making sure that slide where they enter their names pops up first thing instead of halfway through the lesson.

2. Introduce class vocabulary with images and open ended questions
You have the perfect visuals lined up for students to connect new vocabulary to, but they don't know the vocabulary yet...and Nearpod only allows one image per slide. So take some screenshots (I love SnagIt for this!) of small vocabulary groups--say for 3-5 words--and see if students can figure out how to say them in Spanish. Maybe they've seen the word before (say in first-day fun stations) or maybe they can put together words and patterns they've observed to come up with something close. The key here is activating prior knowledge--and then quickly following with a slide with the right vocabulary spellings.

3. Introduce personalized vocabulary with Draw It
The Draw It activities work PERFECTLY as substitutes for the InfuseLearning activity my kids always love! Simply make the prompt a target language question they will need to be able to respond to and collect their responses. AND you can send email reports to yourself for easy stealing collection of students' images for future review and/or interactive notebook visual vocabulary notes!

4. Screenshot important images
All of my coro class starters were set up on SMARTboard software, and there's no way I can arrange a Nearpod slide the same way I set those up. I also can't make Nearpod slides look like a notebook like I used to for setting up interactive notebook pages. So if I really need a certain visual arrangement to reference, I use SnagIt again and snap an image to upload to a slide.

5. Duplicate for unfinished lessons
Didn't finish a lesson? Need a quick way to recap yesterday's lesson?
Duplicate the day's lesson and delete the slides you got through or don't need.(that way you don't have to enter all new information for a quick publish either!)

Now, I also hear good things about Pear Deck (great comparison @Natadel76 tweeted here), but alas, the drawing feature is a paid one, and the simplicity of my Nearpod presentations means it'll probably take a while to use up my 50 free MB. If not, I can download a PDF before I delete old presentations and re-add them when I need!

What other ideas can you think of to engage kids' brains with the target language and streamline your presentations with Nearpod?

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