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Nearpod: Teaching Digitally with MINIMAL Stress

Keyword [music, technology, digital curriculum, first two weeks, Nearpod]

Author: Katherine LaRose

Targeted Audience: Elementary Music Distance Learning Teachers

Nearpod is a digital method of delivering content to students. It functions similarly to a slide presentation but can be self paced (run by the student) or teacher run. It is a useful method to teach your virtual students as well as your live students with minimal alterations to your presentation. Students do NOT need an account. They can either click a link or enter a code into the webside. If you have never seen a Nearpod before, here is an example:

Getting Started

First, let’s get started with our account. They are FREE for educators so go ahead and sign up for one yourself if you don’t already have one. Some districts have already provided Nearpod while others haven’t, but it is an excellent resource if you’ve never used it before. Just like with Flipgrid, you can sign up with a Google or Office 365 account, or you can register with a school email if it is separate from those. Once you are in, things look a bit much. Pause, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that this is not a race and that you can do it.

There have been a lot of updates to Nearpod and it is continuing to update regularly, one of the best things about it. Nearpod is advancing and trying to stay ahead of the curve as much as possible. Don’t stress about trying to understand everything and knowing exactly what each and every part is. Take it slow and don’t work too hard on trying to figure out everything, you don’t NEED to. It will show you the updates but if this is your first time, don’t be overwhelmed. It’s alright.

When you look at the main page, you’ll see your Nearpod library. If you haven’t created anything yet, you won’t see anything there. Once you start creating, once you start pulling things in, you’ll see things appear here. You’ll be able to start a new one, launch a lesson, check your students’ work, create sub lesson plans, even search Nearpod for any other lessons people have created. Everything from your school, your district, and other users can be available for you. They even have a library of lessons on Digital Citizenship and Literacy (super useful in these times)! As you can see, I’ve labeled these things and you can also see where I have a lesson that I’ve already made.

New Lesson!

Let’s make ourselves a brand new Nearpod lesson. You can make a lesson in Google Slides, Nearpod, or now, a Video. If you are familiar with Google Slides, you might find it a bit more comfortable to go through the Google Slides. If you aren’t, that’s okay. It is not a requirement. However, you must have a connected Google account in order to use that method. If you are not signing in through a Google account, you will need to allow it access to your Google account or create one and then clink it.

Video is a newer section. If you have a lesson recorded, you can upload it directly here for your lesson. There are premade lesson videos and you can search, but please be aware this is a newer section and it will not be a promised smooth sailing creation process. It might have some tricky bugs hiding here and there that are still being worked out. My advice is you leave it alone unless you are confident and comfortable with it. Don’t push yourself, this is about what you can and are comfortable doing.

For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to walk you through the Nearpod slides without going in depth on the Google Slides and Videos. They are fairly straightforward and intuitive, but can seem a bit scary. If you have a PPD, PNG, PDF, or video for teaching, you can drag and drop it directly into the Nearpod. This will become one slide of your presentation. You will see a number 1, meaning it is the first slide. You can delete it, copy it, or convert it to a slide students may draw on. We’ll go over that shortly, no worries.

Add a Slide

This gives you many options. Each option is a different thing, both in Content and Activities.

· Video – This option allows you to add a video. It can be from the Nearpod library, YouTube, or uploaded from your computer.

· Slide – This is building your typical slide, like what you would build in PPT or Google Slides.

· Web Content – You can add a website in using the URL. Remember that not every website will be accessible for your students.

· Flocabulary Video – This uses Flocabulary and incorporates it into your classroom. Depending on your district and access to Flocabulary, you can use limited or all.

· Nearpod 3D – This pulls in a 3D image for students to manipulate and explore.

· Phet Simulation – This is a math or science manipulative for students to explore various concepts.

· Field Trip – This is a virtual field trip. You can explore various places in 3D

· Graphing Calculator – Exactly what it sounds like, it is a graphing calculator.

· BBC Video – This connects directly with BBC Worldwide and allows you to pull videos from their site.

· Sway – You can use a premade Sway or create your own with an O365 account

· Slideshow – This is your previously made presentations, be them images, Powerpoint, or PDFs. You can upload them from your computer, drive, or search for images through Google.

· Audio – You can upload ANY audio file here.

· PDF Viewer – You can upload any PDF here.

You can see examples of each of these in this self-paced Nearpod. You can either click the link or enter the code directly into Go through it at your own pace and feel free to look back over it at any point in the next year (the longest point a Nearpod can be available).


Feel free to reach out to me at any time with ideas for our next FEMEA blog, technologies you would like to see, as well as any questions, comments, or concerns you might have.

· Time to Climb – This is a competition quiz based game. Correct answers move the participants up the mountain and first to the top wins.

· Open-Ended Question – Students can answer by type OR voice record.

· Matching Pairs – Exactly what it sounds like.

· Quiz – You can create a quiz here and use it for Time to Climb or just a regular quiz.

· Flipgrid – Flipgrid attaches right in!

· Draw It – Students can draw, type, or even add images.

· Collaborate Board – Imagine your old push pin board. Now make everything on it be typed.

· Poll – Take a poll!

· Fill in the Blanks – Students have a bank of words and drag them to the correct blank.

· Memory Test – Students have to find the correct image for the question.

Again, this is a student view of all those aspects. It is student paced and you can follow through as a student. What you see here is EXACTLY what the students would see. It is open for one year, so you have plenty of time to work through it. Don’t be afraid, it’s going to be open for a while! Save it and come back!


Please check the PDF provided under the resources section in this blog to see how each of the Content and Activity slides will look on the teacher’s end.

Now you’ve finished your first Nearpod! Whoohoo! Once you have completed it, you can go back in and edit it. Hover your mouse over and you will see it is on the bottom left hand side. Preview lets you view it as a student. Drag means you can change where it is in your library.

Live or Student paced is the question! Live means YOU are in charge. You lead the students through it as if it were the only presentation. Students will join with the code or link you post for them. Student-Paced means they run through it. Activities will not be with the groups but individually. Either way, students will still see the same material, but these are the two methods of viewing the Nearpods. The ones you saw above were both Student-Paced so you could go through them yourselves without needing me to click to the next slide.


Now to get your students in and know how to help them through! One of the best things in Nearpod, in my opinion, is the reader. There is an immersive reader that will read out the text on every slide. If it is NOT text, it will not be read. Even images that have text will not be read. It can break down the text by word, syllable, highlight parts of speech, even translate it. You DO need to teach your students how to do so. But it will read the text you typed on the slide for your students.

On the right hand side, you will see a little pen with paper. This is for note taking. Students (older students, mostly) can type notes about the content on each and every slide. These notes are forwarded to the students’ email, saved to Google Drive, or to their OneDrive. Students will be able to review the Nearpod without the interactive parts, but they will be able to see all the content they had seen before with the notes they took.

Self-paced lessons are fantastic and what you’ve seen throughout this blog. There is no need for the instructor to do anything other than give the students the link or the Nearpod Code to input. They work through it, they can see their notes after, and they can participate and learn as close to the classroom without missing every single thing you do or teach. It is student-friendly and they have the chance to experience class in a similar way to what you might already have them do.

Teacher paced lessons are for your in-classroom teaching.YOU control the speed, the timing, and the content.Students join in with you from their own devices as you guide them.This is great for those live lessons where you are teaching at the same time.This is great as you can have a bit more control but you can also do a little bit more.

As you are teaching your lesson, you will see every single slide and activity you created here. The code will always be available so if something happens, you still have it. You will be able to get your kids back in if they are kicked.

Do you trust your students?You might, but we still know them well.When students join in, they are to write their name.Batman.Superman.Minecraft.You know, their name.Click the x next to their name and it will kick that student out and force them back to the beginning and give themselves a new name.Make sure to tell them to write their name, their ACTUAL name.

If you decide you want to add an activity during the Nearpod, but you never added it in? You can add it now! Click the +Add Activity button in the top right hand corner and you can add in some new activities you might have just had the idea to add in.

If you want to skip around in your presentation, you can. Don’t feel you have to do everything in the order it is in. This button lets you skip around and share slides that aren’t necessarily next in order.

As you go through, you can set timers on activities and have them auto-timed or give the students a countdown before moving on to the next slide.As you are going, you will see:

This image shows for ALL video slides. If you place it for ALL DEVICES, students will be able to play and watch the video on their own computer. If the students are in your classroom on their own devices and have headphones in, this is fine. Otherwise, expect chaos. THIS DEVICE ONLY is great for your live lessons if you’re sharing your screen and the students can see what you can.

If you have a quiz, activity, or participation part in your Nearpod, I suggest not sharing your screen at that time or making sure to . You will see what students have done what, their participation level, their success, etc. Remember, this is while you are in control of the Nearpod and going through with your students.

When you are done with your lesson, you can see any reports and end the Nearpod.


Each time a student completes an activity in Nearpod and goes through the lesson, a report is generated for that student. In the Reports section from your Nearpod homepage, you will be able to see and print these status reports. You can see how far they got, what they scored in activities, etc. This is a great way to check who is going through everything and completing every part of Nearpod vs those who simply skip through everything to get it over with as fast as possible. In the image below, you’ll see how well I did as a student who did absolutely nothing on any of the activities, quit early, etc.

These can help with grading, critiquing, and informing future plans and lessons. It is good to at least be aware of to help figure out if your students are struggling with a particular concept or activity in Nearpod.

Sub Plans

Yes, that is right! You can use this for sub lessons! It is a great way to have a typical class lesson but with a substitute instead. Especially during conference time and times like now where we are living in a Covid world. When you go to it, the website will email you a sample sub lesson plan.

They start you with a selection of potential Nearpods already made in their library. You can see in the library you can also create your own. You would do this the same as if you are making a Nearpod, just in the Sub Plans section.

School & District Library

Your Nearpod connected through your school and district.Whatever anyone at your school has created and shared will appear here for you to see as well.You can filter your results as seen

Now, these are only by your base school if you are like me and have multiple schools you teach at. You will only see it by the school you are based at, not any of the others. From the School or District Library, you can add any Nearpod to your own library of lessons. Simply hover over it and you will see the option to Add to My Library. Clicking this will take this lesson and add it directly to your home screen, your dashboard of lessons. You can then go back and edit the lesson as much as you wish and change it to be exactly how you want it to be.

Nearpod Library & Digital Citizenship & Literacy

The Nearpod Library is exactly what you expect, a larger based library for lessons. You’ll see more lessons available here in the same way as the previous libraries. You can once again directly add them to your library and edit them as you can edit any other lesson in your library.

Digital Citizenship is SO important right now. For all of us. This section has all of our pre-made Nearpod lessons that relate to digital citizenship, digital media, and such. These are pre-made so you do not need to recreate the wheel in this case. If you plan on incorporating these into your classes, take it from here and edit it all you want.

Extra Resources!

Again, if there is any way I can help you, please feel free to contact me! I hope you are having a fantastic welcome back to school. Remember, we’ve got this! We can do it!

Katherine LaRose

Gulf Beaches Elementary Magnet School

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