A few years ago when I was a classroom teacher, I discovered Nearpod. I wrote a post back in May of 2013 titled, How Nearpod Brought Active Learning To My Classroom. Nearpod is an excellent tool, which they only want to make better. So fast-forward to this past August when a new update is launched. I checked out what the update contained and was pleasantly surprised to see that many of the recommendations teachers made on the site’s community blog where included with the update. One of the updates was the ability for students to submit a photograph through a Draw It slide.
Now as a former classroom teacher, I know the value of manipulatives. They can increase engagement, they provide kinesthetics to a lesson, and can truly make a lesson authentic to the learner. Teaching a lesson on money wouldn’t be the same without actually being able to touch and count coins. Being able to use place value blocks assists a lesson on number value. There are many examples of how teachers can use manipulatives in their lessons. But unless the teacher goes around with a camera and snaps a photo then organize those images by some means, student examples go undocumented. Data showing students’ learning or the opposite, students’ struggling, is non-existent.
Until now! A teacher can have their manipulatives on hand. Engage their Nearpod lesson, which includes a simple Draw It slide stating what they need to capture. “Take a picture of your Tangrams in the shape of an animal.” “Submit a photo of how to make $0.82.” “Show me the best way to make 123 with your place value blocks.” The students then submit each of these photographs and more. The image will be tagged with the students name under the date stamp of when the lesson was delivered. The teacher can go back in and run an assessment report to verify student learning by examining the data collected.
One week ago, I was presenting at the Edscape Conference in North Jersey. I went through a demo lesson with my workshop participants. The lesson was on money and they loved the fact that the students were being engaged. I pushed out a blank Draw It slide and told the audience to take a photo of the change they had in their pocket. Now a couple of people had change. When the photos were submitted, I chose one at random and shared it back out on the iPads. We were able to simulate a classroom discussion on how much change was shown, what was another way to make that amount, etc. The educators in the audience then started brainstorming ways that they could apply this new feature to their own class lessons.
My all time favorite app keeps getting better thanks to feedback from educators. I challenge you to try out Nearpod if you haven’t already. Use the submit photo feature on Draw It. And if you think of something that the app could use go to Nearpod’s community page and offer a suggestion.