How to Create Interactive Classroom Lessons with the iPad Nearpod App

By Sam Gliksman

Do you want to use your iPad to create a classroom lesson? There certainly are academic content and skills that require instruction; however, it’s terribly difficult to keep the attention of students when you’re plowing through a projected presentation. Nearpod is a presentation platform that seeks to inject elements of interaction into classroom presentations in an attempt to better engage students and provide feedback to teachers.

The teacher delivers the presentation as a “live session” that is assigned a unique PIN. Students then enter the PIN in the Nearpod app on their iPads. The presentation appears on screen while the teacher controls the progression of slides and the built-in interactions with students. Let’s get you started so you can try it out.

Sign up for a Nearpod account

Download the Nearpod app or access Nearpod via the web. You can create a free Nearpod account by using your Google login or creating a new login with Nearpod. Note that the account is for the person creating and hosting presentation sessions. Students won’t need an account to access your lessons.

Creating a Nearpod presentation

Create your Nearpod presentation in your desktop browser by using the following steps:

  1. Log in on the web.

    Open your web browser and log in to your Nearpod account.

  2. Create a new presentation.

    Select My Library or Create from the menu. Click the New Presentation button on the upper toolbar. Start your presentation from scratch or import existing files by dragging and dropping them on to the page. Nearpod accepts common file formats such as PowerPoint or PDF documents and images in JPG or PNG format. After they’re imported, your files are converted in Nearpod for editing and presentation.

  3. Add content.

    Add custom slides with media from your computer or the web:

    • Add images, video, and audio from your computer or from sites such as YouTube, Dropbox, and Google Drive.

    • Compose slides with text, images, and audio.

    • Add a website to your slide that students will be able to browse.

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  4. Add activities.

    Add interactive slides with activities that include open-ended questions, polls, quizzes, and drawing tools. You can see each student response as you give the presentation. Some activity ideas include

    • Asking an exploratory question to gauge students’ opinions on a topic.

    • Inserting a poll to see what they think or know.

    • Presenting a lesson and then, giving students a quiz to see what they understood.

    • Using the drawing tools to have students sketch a geometric shape, answer a math problem, identify parts of a plant, and more.

  5. Arrange the slides.

    Drag and drop your slides into the desired sequence.

  6. Save the presentation.

    Use Settings to title your presentation and tap Done.

  7. Publish your presentation when prompted so that you can deliver it to your students at the appropriate time.

Delivering your interactive presentation

You’ve put it all together and now you’re ready to deliver your captivating presentation to your students. Here’s how:

  1. Login to the Nearpod app or website and select My Library to access your presentations.

  2. Open your presentation and select the Live Session option.

    Nearpod gives you a PIN for your session. Share it with your students verbally or via email.

  3. Have students join the session.

    Students open the Nearpod app on their iPads and enter the PIN number. The presentation downloads and displays your opening slide. You control the flow of the presentation; the students remain on that slide until you move to the next one.

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  4. Swipe to the next slide.

    Students will be asked to enter their name.

    On your end you see a counter with the number of students that have joined the session. Tap or click it and you can see their names.

  5. Swipe to the next slide on your device to advance the presentations on each student’s iPad.

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    Give students time to respond as you reach slides with interactive elements such as open-ended questions, quizzes, or slides with drawing tools. For example, you can

    • View answers to questions and get immediate feedback on each student’s progress.

    • Get quiz scores for each student. See which questions were answered correctly and which might require further explanation and corrective action.

    • Browse thumbnails of student responses to open-ended questions. You can select thumbnails to share with the class, and Nearpod pushes it out to every iPad screen.

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  6. Tap or click the Nearpod logo during your session and select Reports.

    Nearpod generates a report with data on each student’s responses and sends it to your registered email address.