NearPod without iPads

Access to iPads in the morning section of my classes became an issue this semester, and I expected that to be a pretty big problem. I was kicking myself for investing so much time in preparing presentations last semester that I might not be able to use with my current students.

I tried to think creatively about this problem. One option was simply to ask students to BYOD (bring your own device). I’m trying that tomorrow morning. As a test, I tried running a NearPod, launching from my iPad, but asking a friend to participate from his MacBook Pro. Surprisingly, it worked great. In some ways the big screen of the laptop was a big plus. Probably a little cooler to look at 360 degree panoramas with the geo-synchronous feature of an iPad, but other than that, both are fine. I think view on an iPhone is not as good, but with the “Retina” display, it is still decent.

We tried this out, and it works great.

We tried this out, and it works great.


Lagging slide advance in Teacher Mode (a tip): Last week during my NearPod presentation at LMU Tech Day, I had a lot of lagging when I swiped to advance. It wasn’t a disaster, but it certainly didn’t show off NP at it’s best. Tonight, the same issue, so I switched over to my iPad mini from my old iPad 2. With the mini everything worked smoothly. I suspect the iPad2 screen was dirty, or that the screen coating is wearing out.



Students Love NearPod

During the final class meeting of Visual Thinking, Fall 2013, students were asked about their experience with NearPod during the class. The survey was conducted within the final NearPod presentation of the semester. This PDF of a NearPod Report from that session summarizes the responses:

F13 final class NP survey

Online Teaching Conference 2014

The OTC (and EduSoCal) have been my favorite teaching conferences. At the first OTC conference I attended five years ago I soaked up an amazing amount of information in just two days. Online learning was new to me, and I was inspired by the many innovations described by various presenters.

I have presented a number of times at OTC, and this year I hope to demonstrate the NearPod app, which my students seem to really enjoy.

The 2014 Online Teaching Conference will be in San Diego on June 20-21.

The 2014 Online Teaching Conference will be in San Diego on June 20-21.

Here is the proposal I just presented:

Title: Interactive Learning with NearPod

NearPod is a game changing app for interactive learning.

Imagine transforming a set of PowerPoint slides into a rich, multimedia experience which allows students to express their opinions, answer quiz questions, and even make drawings related to the content. NearPod summarizes these responses in vivid pie charts, which can be shared with students immediately, and NearPod Reports archive all the student input for later review by the teacher.

This will be a mini-workshop, so download the free app to your iOS or Android device (NearPod also runs on laptops), and discover why students prefer active learning with NearPod.

I will run the NearPod app on my iPad, and provide a PIN which will allow face-to-face participants, and online participants (if any) to interact with the presentation using their own iPad, iPhone, Android device, or laptop.


LMU Teaching with Tech Day – 2014

I am doing a brief presentation at my university during the second Teaching with Technology Day, sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence.

Here is the abstract:

Nearpod: a game changing iPad app for interactive learning. Nearpod transforms a PowerPoint type presentation into one that fully engages students. In the midst of a NearPod presentation, students can contribute their own ideas by answering survey questions, responding to a quiz after viewing a series of images, or even by making a drawing. Students in the Fall 2013 Visual Thinking / Art 350 classes loved the experience of using Nearpod. In this mini-workshop we will learn about Nearpod simply by trying it out. Download the free app to your iPad, iPhone, or android device. We will have some iPads available, and it also can run on a laptop.

Some of the ways to engage students with NearPod

Some of the ways to engage students with NearPod

2nd semester with NearPod

In my second semester using the NearPod app in teaching Visual Thinking, I will make greater use of NearPod reports to assess my student’s learning. I also plan to experiment with both NearPod Homework (for homework assignments, and as a way for students who miss a class meeting to view the weekly NearPod presentation).

Also, there may be a problem with availability of iPads in the first section of my course, so I’m going to experiment with how well NearPod works when it’s running on the student’s own iPhone, or Android device, and to see how it performs when running through a laptop browser.

NearPod has an Android app, and it can run on a laptop

NearPod has an Android app, and it can run on a laptop

Developing a NearPod presentation

Here’s my workflow…

It took me about 4.5 hours to this for the second meeting of Visual Thinking.  The themes this week are exploring initial ideas of what it means to be an artist, and the origin of the Light + Space art, the only art form that originated in Southern California.

a mind map of how I develop a NearPod presentation

a mind map of how I develop a NearPod presentation

Working on 2nd NPP…

So now I’m working on my next NearPod presentation for Fall ’13. It is a unique medium. I’ve decided to start by making a fresh Keynote presentation on Light and Space art. I am focusing on three artists in this field, attempting to construct my own version of history. I will use the Keynote, because it is an easier way to construct nice slides–making slides within NearPod seemed somewhat limiting. I am keeping written notes about where to include interactive features, along with a list of survey questions.

I got a list of NearPod iPad Friendly websites. My favorite is “,” a great way to virtually travel. I am going to show my students “The Weather Project” by Olafur Eliasson, and I plan to fly them to the Tate Modern via 360Cities. The really cool thing about 360 cities is that the iPad screen becomes a window on the world. As you move your body the spherical image swings in the new direction thanks to the iPads gyro. I’ll encourage my students to stand up while doing this, as it heightens the effect.


Standing on the Millenium Bridge London, looking toward St. Pauls thanks to

Standing on the Millenium Bridge London, looking toward St. Pauls thanks to