I spent this past Saturday and Sunday at the second annual Nearpod PioNear Summit in Austin, Texas. It was great to see the 30+ people that I met at last year’s summit and to connect with 60 more PioNears from all over the world. We started the weekend with a keynote address by Guido Kovalskys. During his inspirational talk, I created the sketchnote above. He focused on the important ways that Nearpod is used to provide context, improve content, and build connections. The data is impressive: 5.4 million virtual field trips have been taken using Nearpod. 1700 virtual field trips per day!
The people and conversations in this community were the greatest part of the trip, but a close second was hearing about all the cool things coming down the pike from Nearpod. Here’s a closer look:
Nearpod is creating professional development modules on topics that teachers need to be successful in the classroom, like evidence-based writing in math. If your district doesn’t have the funding to bring an expert to the district, perhaps a Ready to Run PD module can be substituted. Created in the spirit of Master Classes, these would be the content and ideas of experts.
The English Language Learners are the fastest growing population in the United States. Often ELL teachers are stretched very thin, trying to support learners with a variety of native languages with differing levels of English mastery. Enter Nearpod’s ELL modules. With lessons designed specifically to increase English proficiency in grades 2-12, these will come at just the right time. Look for these lessons to be available January 31, 2017.
Nearpod for Subs
Everyone has a nightmare story of the time a sub plan went wrong. Nearpod is working on creating a special distinction for lessons that can be used by a substitute. When a teacher is absent, she chooses the lesson and a notification is sent to a substitute by text message and email. Directions are included for using Nearpod (in case the substitute is unfamiliar with the platform) and accessing the lesson for the day. I am really excited to try this one out!
Nearpod Original Content
Nearpod also has its finger on the pulse of the movement to put students into the driver’s seat as far as content creation goes. The think tank at Nearpod is working to design interdisciplinary lesson starters that will ask students to create an original product, allowing for creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. Teachers will definitely be more likely to try something like this if much of the advanced preparation for finding these started is ready to go when the lessons are downloaded.
Those are four reasons to keep your eye on Nearpod in 2017. I continue to be impressed with how this company listens to its stakeholders and tries to create tools and strategies to meet the needs of educators. When the company started, founders Guido Kovalskys and Felipe Sommer said “hay algo aqu�” to each other. This phrase means “there’s something here.” I couldn’t agree more!