In my research for ways to integrate iPad use in my curriculum I stumbled upon an app called Nearpod. Similar to creating powerpoint slides a teacher can create a presentation to drive a lesson. The features a teacher can include in their presentation are
- slides with text and pictures
- polls to survey his or her class on the spot,
- ask questions to which students can respond right away and the teacher can review instantly,
- quizzes to assess student progress,
- draw it to have students draw an image, submit to the teacher, and the teacher can select ones to share with the class.
There is also a limited library of presentations a teacher can look through, download, and use immediately; some even made by the Khan Academy. Not many though; eighteen to be exact as of this writing spanning many different subjects for many different grade levels.
If the teacher takes the time to create a presentation it is a great tool to use. Students cannot just flip through all the slides (like I used to do in grad school just to see how much we’d have to get through before class ended). The teacher is in complete control. He or she flips to the next slide from their iPad and the students see exactly what the teacher allows them to see simultaneously. That being said, however, I did not enjoy the experience of actually creating a presentation. What a teacher needs to do is either create or take a powerpoint presentation they may already have and save it as a PDF file (which can be done in Microsoft Powerpoint) then upload it to nearpod.com on a desktop computer. From the nearpod site you can then integrate polls, questions, quizzes, videos, or the drawing feature. My main gripe is the fact that you have to create your text slides on powerpoint, convert it to pdf, then upload it while all the other features are made through the nearpod website. I know as I am creating presentations for my class I am constantly adding and editing so if there is something I need to change that I already uploaded to nearpod, I have to open it again in powerpoint, change it, convert it to pdf, upload it again, and delete the old slide. Going back and forth between powerpoint and the nearpod site is a huge deal breaker for me. It is just too cumbersome, too time-consuming, and not to mention just way too aggravating. If I was able to create the entire presentation from their site it would be a much better experience and until then I really cannot recommend this. It is a shame because when I first stumbled upon this I thought I landed on a gold mine (for teachers at least). It is such a great idea but a teacher can accomplish similar presentations with Microsoft PowerPoint or Smart Notebook if they have a Smartboard with much more ease.
The reason I felt the need to review this is because I spent a lot of time experimenting with this and in order to do that you have to install the Nearpod Teacher app on one iPad, install the Nearpod Student app on another iPad, and then create your Nearpod presentation on a desktop computer. Then I learned the hard way how difficult it was to actually create a presentation. Needless to say I spent a lot of time learning about this app only to come to the realization that it is not worth a teacher’s time to use in the classroom. As high as my expectations were for this app it was disappointing to learn that it was just not worth it and so I felt that before others go through the same thing this was worth mentioning. If, however, someone can enlighten me on something I missed to make the experience of creating presentations much friendlier or Nearpod updates it so that a teacher can create an entire presentation straight from their site rather than uploading PDF’s I will welcome the change with open arms and update this blog post accordingly.
At least it’s free.
Until then, anyone else know a good presentation app???