Nearpod is a web service that lets you develop and stream slide-show based presentations over the internet. This can either be done individually by each student on their own, or in a classroom in a live streaming session. Its primary benefit over a traditional overhead projection is that it allows for audience participation and responses through the use of student web platforms, such as a lab computer, laptop, or smart phone. The presentation can be streamed in real time over the students’ devices, and the presenter has free control over the flow of the presentation, and is able to to navigate forward or back through the presentation as it appears on the audience’s screens.
Presentations can either be created from scratch, or imported from a PowerPoint, PDF, or other files from your computer. Presentations can include static pages that display content, but can also consist of pages which involve active audience participation, such as polling, quizzing, and open-ended question and answer pages.
While the creation of Nearpod presentations requires the creator to have an account with Nearpod, no such account is needed for student participation – audience members can simply log on to nearpod.com, or download the app on their phone, and use a 5-digit code generated automatically at the beginning of the presentation to participate. A Google or Office 365 account (which is currently supported by Pitt) can also be used in lieu of a Nearpod account.
While most services are available with a free Nearpod account, some services, including web content, audio content, PDF viewer, YouTube content, and live streaming of Twitter, are only available with a paid account. While it is possible to also embed video files from your computer, free accounts do limit the amount of online space for your files. Also, free accounts are limited to a total of 30 participants in a given live session.
Note: There are various other services out there which offer a similar experience to Nearpod, all of which warrant experimentation. One such service worth mentioning is Pear Deck, which you can learn more about at their website at PearDeck.com.
To get started with Nearpod, as well as getting a demonstration of a non-live streamed Nearpod presentation, see the following tutorial presentations below, courtesy of Nearpod.com.
NOTE: When signing in using Office 365, it is possible to sign in using your Pitt account. All you need to do is select Office 365 when logging in, and type in your full Pitt username with @pitt.edu, and when you do, the background should shift to a Pitt specific background, at which point you may enter your Pitt password.
Once you log in, you should be presented with the following screen.
From here, you have the option to browse previously created presentations, browse for other public Nearpod content online, join another instructor’s presentation, create a new presentation right away, or review the results of previously conducted presentations.
To build a new presentation, click on the Create button.
This will take you to a list of your previous presentations to start from (if you have any), and a few tool buttons at the top that allow you to create a new presentation, publish an existing session and make it publicly available, preview a presentation, host a live sessions, delete, share, or copy a presentation (available under the More tab).
Click New Presentation to begin.
By default, an intro and outro page will be generated with the Nearpod logo – you can remove these by selecting them and clicking the Delete Slide option at the top of the page. You can manually rearrange slides by clicking and dragging them into whatever order you like. You can also preview slides by double clicking them or selecting them once and clicking the Preview button.
To add a slide, you can click Add Slide, or click and drag a file from your desktop. Nearpod accepts PDF, PPT, PNG and JPG for slides and reference images. Image files in any other formats can be saved in any of the aforementioned formats before uploading into Nearpod. Videos can be MP4, MOV, FLV, OGV, AVI or MPG. Audio files can be MP3, WAV, AIFF, OGG and AAC.
You can also import content from Google Images, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Pitt Box.
You can also add audience participation components, such as open ended questions, polls, quizzes, or drawing activity.
As you can see, some content is only available for premium users, such as adding web content and fill-in-the-blank activities.
To learn more about creating content for your presentations, Nearpod offers extensive tutorials on content creation.
To stream your Nearpod presentation, open up your Library of presentations and access the one you want to stream.
Selecting the presentation will open up a preview, with the following options bar at the bottom.
Selecting Edit will allow you to modify the presentation, and selecting Share will present you with an embed code that will allow you to place your video into any HTML page, including Blackboard. If you wish to Live Session will allow you to launch a streaming session. You will be presented with a 5-digit pin number, as well as a variety of ways to share that pin number. If you are presenting in a classroom, you will want to prominently display this pin number to your students and make sure that everyone has seen it who wants to participate.
Once you are ready to present, hit Close – your presentation should be running in the background of the pop-up window above – and you should see a least of participants. Your audience members will not need a Nearpod account – simply going to Nearpod.com or downloading the app for their smartphone will allow them to enter the pin number. They may be prompted to created a nickname for themselves, but once they do, you will see them appear in your list.
Once you are ready to begin, swipe left and right to navigate through your slides.
To learn more about presenting to your students, Nearpod offers extensive tutorials on engaging with presentation content.