In September 2017 Technology Enhanced Learning launched a pilot of Nearpod, an interactive presentation tool. The pilot is intended to assess how useful this tool can be for staff and whether Nearpod has a positive effect on students’ learning experiences.
We received a great response to our initial call for staff participants and Sussex staff from across the academic schools signed up to take part in the pilot. Throughout the Autumn term Technology Enhanced Learning carried out a number of training workshops and our pilot participants have begun integrating Nearpod into their teaching.
Staff have found the interactive slides such as polls, Collaborate boards and the ‘Draw it’ function useful for gaining student feedback and engaging students during face-to-face teaching. For example, some members of staff have been using a Collaborate board at the beginning of each class to allow students to post questions and queries about the previous session’s content, an approach that has been well received by students. Staff have also found the ‘Draw it’ function, a whiteboard feature, very versatile with the feature being used to gain feedback from students, plot graphs, build up a bank of resources or annotate images and text.
Nearpod is relatively easy to use, and there has been some very positive feedback from staff. One minor drawback that staff have highlighted is the time it takes to update their presentations once published and then make these updated presentations available to students. Staff have also reported some problems with Wifi across campus.
So far, student feedback has also been very positive with 92.8% of students agreeing that the use of Nearpod within their seminars, lectures and workshops has had a positive effect on their learning. In addition, 87.6% of students agree that they would like to use Nearpod again in another module in future.
Despite the overwhelming view that Nearpod is beneficial, a recurring theme in the student feedback is that students would like the ability to be able to move back and forward between slides at their own pace. One of the main features of Nearpod is that it that the pace is determined by staff, so whenever a tutor advances the slide the same is reflected on the students’ devices. Interestingly students do not seem keen on this feature, as they worry about missing content as a member of staff moves through a presentation.
In terms of the activities carried out in Nearpod, Sussex students seem to have responded very well to the collaborative aspects, as well as the interactivity and anonymity that Nearpod provides:
“It makes me feel that I am being taught on a personal level. I love the pre-quizzes I find them very beneficial. I love the interaction mid presentation … Please use it next term & next year!”
“Allows tutor to ask questions to everyone and they can all answer anonymously – elicits much better response than asking questions to a large class.”
“I liked how interactive they can be. We could draw/type up answers to questions and see how they compare to others. Also having the ability to anonymously ask questions was very good.”
Nearpod “created an interaction between the students and teaching fellows, allowed to participate actively.”
The Nearpod pilot will be continuing throughout the Spring term and a final report will be produced at the end of the academic year. There are still a small number of Nearpod licences available to Sussex staff so please get in touch and let us know if you would like to pilot Nearpod in one of your modules this term. To learn more about Nearpod and the pilot please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.