The Incredibly Flexible, and Usable Nearpod

What Is Nearpod?

I get really excited when I speak about my favorite digital tools. One of my favorite things to do is try out new tools and then evaluate them based upon solid pedagogical criteria; student engagement, enhancement of learning, measurement of learning, and ease of use for students and staff.

One consistent app that meets those criteria and more is Nearpod. Nearpod is a highly engaging lesson delivery tool that is part presentation tool, part formative assessment tool, and part interactive content delivery tool.

Why Should I Use It?

With Nearpod; student engagement will improve, and your ability to gather realtime data to inform and guide instruction will increase. Those two outcomes are priceless in and of themselves, but what is perhaps most exciting is Nearpod's ability to democratize your classroom. You will now be able to hear from all of your students equally, and in a safe space where they will quickly learn that what they share is safe-for the teacher's eyes only-and that they can open up and be heard.

I see interactive whiteboards used often in classrooms with access to mobile devices, and although the use of them is certainly not bad practice, it isn't the best possible practice. Most interactive presentations can be saved as images. Nearpod allows you then to take those images and embed them as a "draw on" slate so that all kids can interact with the activity, and then you can analyze the results. So, instead of only getting to see what one child might answer, you can see what all students would answer; and without the fear and anxiety associated with volunteering to come to the front of the class. Simply stated; the "why" will continually make itself known the more that you utilize Nearpod.

How Might I Use Nearpod?

The easiest way to use Nearpod at first is by choosing from their existing extensive catalog of presentations in order to get your feet wet. I really like the "We Eat Plant Parts" presentation created by Brita Wilis. Check it out below.

The presentation gives a great deal of information, it checks for understanding, it provides an opportunity for kids to organize and synthesize information, and it gives kids a chance to be creative with the drawing tool. So you can shop from the store and download free, and/or very affordable pre-created Nearpods, and you can also create your own.

Perhaps my favorite "how" though is the process of bringing in old Powerpoint or Google Slides slideshows as images and then you can weave in activity slides in order to breathe new life into them and make them interactive.

Nearpod is also extremely easy to use. Teachers create accounts and through that account they deliver presentations, students download the Nearpod app on mobile devices, or go to the Nearpod site on laptops.

Bonus Features

Nearpod has recently partnered with Common Sense media to develop a large collection of free Digital Citizenship Nearpods. They are interactive, engaging, and up to date. They have also partnered with Google Expeditions so that you can embed virtual field trips into your presentations. They are so fun, and kids go crazy for them. Finally, they just recently paired with Words With Friends Edu, the free educational version of the hit Scrabble knock-off game.

Simply put, Nearpod is a must have tool for 21st century classrooms. Your kids will love it because it's fun and educational, you will love it as a means to hear student voice and check for understanding, and parents will love it because it really utilizes the capabilities of digital devices to empower learners.

Eden Prairie Bonus!

We still have some district accounts available that give you full access to all of Nearpod's capabilities. Contact me at for more information!


  1. Cory, I've been using Nearpod for a couple years and it's my favorite! I love it for math because I can see how each student solves a problem, and I love the ability of sharing responses anonymously with the class. Could I get a district account? Thank you! Liz Schuette


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