Today I am exploring Nearpod in a little more depth than I have before in preparation for our Showcase today at 2:30. Last week I dug into it to see what it can do and found out that they have a Nearpod Teacher Resouces page with some tutorials, as well as pre-built lessons to play with. However, as I should have expected I am more of a play with the tool learner.

Nearpod Ambassador, Danny suggested that I show a snapshot of seven to eight features to faculty this afternoon. We discussed the ones most meaningful to us.


The best feature if Nearpod is not needing to leave one place in order to engage in multiple activities. It also helps teachers get away from the podium – you can present from your mobile device without a clicker and not be tied to the front of the room. By opening the teacher version on your phone and making the podium a student view you can now walk around the room and teach from anywhere while still controlling your slides. This option is good for people who are not that techy as well as techy people.

Focused vs. Flexibility

Nearpod gives instructors the ability to control the pace of the lesson or let students navigate it at their own pace. The live lesson option gives the instructor the control over what shows on each device and when. You can also see how many are following along, which can prompt you to check in to see if you are going too fast or slow in the lesson.

Nearpod offers the option between live or student paced lessons.

Nearpod offers the option between live or student paced lessons.

On the other hand, the student-paced version allows students to follow along so that students can go back and forth in the slides at their own pace. It is good for asynchronous presentations, but Danny says he uses the student-paced option in class to allow for students to go back if they missed something during the lesson, which supports universal design for learning. He also uses the student-paced option for participation assignments.

Danny cautions that it is good to be very intentional in the choices you make because Nearpod has so much flexibility and is a very powerful tool. For example, you wouldn’t want 30 people playing a YouTube video at different times in your class. The best choice for your lesson depends on the features you are using and your goals.

Draw it

Danny uses draw it as the first slide for most of his classes to ask students to draw something that represents how they are feeling at the beginning of a class or do an activity. You can also upload pictures and ask students to draw an arrow to something. You can then see all the images in a grid and even make one image full screen if you want to talk about it. From the podium, you click on it and select share.

Draw it in action

Draw it in action

Matching Pairs

Danny uses matching pairs for an icebreaker. It allows for introverts to participate.

Matching in action

Matching in action. Photo credit to Danny.


Embedding a quiz inside a presentation is likely the most commonly used feature among faculty I have talked to. The quizzes inside Nearpod will track student answers and give you a report at the end.

Right click to add a quiz question

Right-click to add a quiz question

Right click on the slide before where you want the quiz slide and add a quiz question so it is inserted where you want it.

Quiz creation view

Quiz creation view



Danny also recommends Collaborate. He says it is like padlet but inside Nearpod. Using text with a visual is more powerful than text alone. He gives each student three likes and asks students to like the three posts they like the most then the class talks about the top three.


Students can take notes and receive an email with a copy of all the slides. However, in order to be emailed a copy of the slides students must take a note. One of our educators uses this feature to provide her slides to only the students that attend class, thereby encouraging participation.

More Tools

Videos can be integrated into various activities, but they need to be YouTube videos. If you don’t want the video public you can make it unlisted. Nearpod also has some virtual reality (Nearpod 3D) tools you could play with as well as many other cool features. Click here for a blog post that nicely outlines some considerations for designing your lesson.

No Device?

Most students have a cell phone in the classroom. However, if they don’t they can buddy up to develop community and decrease participation reluctance.

3dman_eu / Pixabay


Danny says:

I think the combo of Accessible PPT and Nearpod is the best solution.

He recommends creating a PowerPoint then importing it into Nearpod, which supports universal design for learning and gives students the option of engaging in class activities in a different way. There are a lot of things about Nearpod that are accessible. I have reached out to them to ask for specific recommendations.

Technical Issues

It should work on all devices. If there are technological issues Danny recommends not taking class time to troubleshoot technical issues. Students can buddy up or revert to another type of activity (like the PowerPoint version of your slides. On a side note, Nearpod customer service answers the phone extremely fast! We called them today and got an answer in about a minute while their servers were knocked out by a hurricane (they are now working again).

Creating an Account

Connect with Orville to get your account set up. Going through him makes it a smoother transition than trying to set one up on your own.


Laura Killam is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a keen interest in improving student learning through innovation. For more information please visit http://nursekillam.com/.


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