Thursday, May 23, 2013

Nearpod Nearperfect? Some Tips & Tricks...

aaaaaaand I’m back.  Long time no write.  It’s been a hectic Spring and even though my colleagues & I have found some great tech tips (!) I haven’t gotten my butt in gear to be reflecting & sharing these & I apologize. But I’ve been keeping notes.  Hopefully it will be a blog-filled summer.  What prompted this quick interruption to an otherwise quiet blog is my recent experience with Nearpod.  I think you’ll love it.  I really do!

In a nutshell: 
Nearpod allows you to lock your audience into a presentation on their iOs devices.  You control the movement of the slides.  Nearpod also gives your audience an interactive experience; you can add quizzes, links to the web, movie clips, poll the audience, you can even insert opportunities for students to draw something.  It’s a super cool way to present.

Here are my tips for when you use it:
1.  It’s quirky and, for me, not intuitive at first--but that’s why I am writing this for you!  Keep reading...

2.  Practice is better when you practice with the paid version.  It’s expensive though--$100, I believe.  You’ll need the paid version to create a real presentation that includes all of the bells & whistles in your presentation - like quizzes & movies.  Find someone who has purchased it and borrow their account to give it a real test drive before you jump in.

3.  You can’t make slides in the application- you make the slides in another application (google presentation, ppt, ActivInspire, really anything that you can convert to PDF) and import them.  It’s easy to move slides around, delete slides, and add slides.  Think of it as a plus - you don’t remake all of your presentations; you can import all of your old stuff.

4.  The videos are not simply links to YouTube videos - you have to download mp4s from YouTube & then upload it to the presentation.  This can feel like “one more step” - I get it.  But once you have a system it gets easier.  I used the Xilisoft app (thanks, Bert!).

5. Don’t give the “room number” for your presentation until you are ready to begin.  I practiced and practiced the night before, I thought that I had the pin ready to go.  The only problem was, the pin that I gave the class directed them to the old presentation from the night before.  So even though you have one saved presentation in your library it will always have a different launch pin, make sense?  This resulted in some confusion because when I logged in as a teacher and launched the presentation the next morning, it was given a new pin (which I didn’t know this at the time).  Thus I was in a different presentation than my students.  Learn from my mistake!  I didn’t realize that the pin changes each time you launch the presentation from the beginning.

6. Watch the free presentation (tutorial) that they provide - it’s great.  It’s simple and explains what the program is about. Great tips & tricks!  For this reason I included no screenshots with directions.

7. You don’t need two iOS devices to practice ( I originally thought. For a long time I practiced by being the teacher on my iPad and the student on my iPhone.  Like I said before, it’s not super intuitive to use at first. I had to figure this piece out.)  Then you can log in as a teacher on your iPad and you can “be the student” on your PC or Mac.  Go to and enter the pin number when prompted.

8.  There are TWO ways to login.  If you’re going to view as a student you need to enter a pin number.  If you want to present or modify a presentation you need to log in with your email & password.

I hope this helps!  Let me know if you have questions or tips for me!

Here's a sample of what my 'teacher view' was for my presentation.  
(Pink words & arrows not included!)

Alright, I said no screenshots, but this one is helpful to remember the basics.