This is a guest post from Hélène Fyffe, an undergraduate starting her final year at Edinburgh Napier University, having spent a year on placement with Microsoft UK Education as part of her course.
With technology and tablets such as the Surface increasingly being adopted by schools, many doorways are opening for teachers to get creative in how they teach their class and engage their students’ attention. Fresh education apps are blossoming all over the internet to aid 1-1 learning which has huge advantages such as enabling teachers to have more time for each student and increasing students’ motivation to learn.
I therefore want to share an exciting new Windows 8 app, Nearpod and illustrate how it is helping teachers all over the world to inspire their students in 1-to-1 classes in a fun and monitored environment.
What is Nearpod?
Nearpod is a platform which can be used on PCs and tablets such as the Surface which would provide an ideal productive environment for learners and teachers to benefit from the app’s capabilities, that enables teachers to manage what the entire class see on their screens with its synchronised all-in-one solution. In one year it has been used by over 1 million students in schools and has been highly regarded by teachers for transforming the traditional ‘lecture’ class into a flipped classroom experience.
The beauty of the app is its rich service that gives teachers a variety of tools to teach, assess and involve the entire class, all in real time.
Teach and assess in one
When preparing classes, teachers have the luxury of creating their lesson in a multimedia presentation that simultaneously enables them to include assessments such as quizzes or polls. The beauty of the real time feature is that teachers can watch each individual students’ progress as they complete the assessments and then view their results through an analytics portal to gain a deeper understanding of what areas they are perhaps struggling with and could be helped with. Research has shown that regular feedback is beneficial for learning as students can continuously work on the areas they need to improve as opposed to receiving feedback irregularly once an essay or exam has been completed. This could be particularly useful for students doing national qualification exams, as they may feel more supported and prepared for their big exams or mocks.
You might be wondering how the app looks like from a student perspective. Students use Nearpod to receive multimedia content from their teacher and to carry out assessments. As content is shared in live format, the teacher can organise their class in a more interactive discussion-based style, choosing when to involve the class in a discussion about the theme or topic just studied, and when to share the next piece of content or quiz for students to individually work on. The interaction doesn’t have to stay within the classroom walls, as teachers can create interactive presentations in ‘Homework mode’ which students can work on at their own pace once they’re at home.
Collaboration amongst colleagues
I can remember from my days at school that my teachers from the same departments would work closely together and often take turns in teaching us. For example, in French, one teacher would teach French language and another would teach French aural classes. It might therefore be pleasing for teachers to hear that Nearpod gives you the freedom to share and collaborate presentations with colleagues, enabling departments to all work harmoniously and ‘be on the same page’. I can imagine this could save teachers time and give them greater flexibility to structure course content in a collaborative fashion, when are where they want. In addition, this feature could be really useful for teachers who have to step in for a colleague who is ill or away!
The Nearpod app can be downloaded from the Windows Store for free!
For more information on Microsoft Education solutions, have a look at our latest infographic below.