Monday, September 12, 2022

Back to School with Nearpod (#4): Better Classroom Management with Google Classroom Integration


Welcome back to school. I hope everyone is having an enjoyable start to the new school year. A pain point with using Nearpod or any app that gives you the option to have students join a session with a code is getting students to join promptly. Many factors can get in the way of students joining. In my experience, students struggle to see the TV or screen where the code is projected. Not being able to get into the session, students have been known to shut down and or get distracted and off-task. What I have noticed is that having less to click or type, expedites this process. 

Nearpod's integration with Google Classroom removes some typing and extra clicks. Simply eliminating a few clicks and or typing, goes a long way in keeping kids on task as well as helping with classroom management. Let's take a look at two ways you can expedite the process of students joining your Nearpod session via Google Classroom.

When I am in the classroom, I made it a clear expectation that their daily opening routine includes logging into their Chromebook and opening Google Classroom. I usually have a 4-5 minute timer running for kids to complete this process at the beginning of class. During this time, I greet students, take roll, and I am able to push a Nearpod session to Google Classroom.

To push a Nearpod session from Nearpod to Google Classroom, takes only a minute. Start by hovering your cursor over the Nearpod lesson/activity in which you want students to participate.


You will be presented with two options, Live Participation or Student-Paced. Regardless of your choice, the setup will look almost identical. For the purposes of this blogpost, the screenshots will feature the Live Participation option. In this case, students will not have to enter a code. They will simply click on the link provided them via Google Classroom.


After selecting Live Participation or Student-Paced, click the Google Classroom option. If you are in a Microsoft District, Microsoft Teams is also an option. On another note, if you were to create a Nearpod presentation for parents, you could use the Remind option to push the session to them. 


After selecting Google Classroom, you'll be prompted to choose the Google Classroom in which to post the session.



Once you've selected your Google Classroom, you must choose your action or what type of Google Classroom post you want the Nearpod session to be. Usually, I use Material or Announcement as I am not grading it via Google Classroom. Use Material if you want this post to be organized neatly with topics in the Classwork tab. If you want the quickest, easiest access, use Announcement. This will make it the first thing kids see in the Stream tab.




The next step is to title the post and add any instructions. On the student end, when this appears in Classwork, the link will be prominently featured and easy for them to click and join.


An alternate method will have you create the session from Google Classroom. This option is available if you have a paid subscription to Nearpod and it's been integrated with your Google domain. Below is what it looks like when you have this set up. When you click Create in the Classwork tab, Nearpod Assignment appears as an option. Talk to your IT department about setting this up.


After clicking Nearpod Assignment, a pop up will appear showing My Lessons. Click on the lesson or open the folder (and click a lesson) you want to push to Google Classroom. 


Just like in the previous option, the link will be prominently featured and you are able to title the post and put any instructions.


Either option works equally well. What these options allow is to have kids join a Nearpod session at the click of a mouse. It doesn't seem like much, but removing the steps of kids searching for the join Nearpod site and entering a code makes your classroom management a little easier. We all have a diverse group of learners in the room, all with unique characteristics. In some cases, those two extra steps can seem daunting and difficult, and this difficulty can make classroom management a struggle. 

If you would like to bring me to your school for PD, workshops, a keynote, training or a follow-up on this or previous blogposts, click here to schedule an appointment to chat.

My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.





 

Friday, September 9, 2022

Back to School with Nearpod (#3): Get Started Organizing Lessons into Folders

Welcome back to school! As an educator who lives in the Google environment, Google Drive especially, organizing resources is extremely important. If you don't stay on top of organization of resources in Drive, it becomes a very difficult place to navigate. As you become more comfortable using Nearpod, and you create more lessons, organization of My Lessons in Nearpod is also something to consider.

Like with Google Drive, you can organize your lessons into folders. In the screenshot below, you can see a folder I recently created for my Eduprotocols templates. Get started by clicking on the Folder button. 


A pop up will appear where you will title the folder.


Once created, you'll immediately be taken to that folder. Since it's a brand new folder, it will be empty. Look closely at the screenshot below. You will see an organizational tree similar to that of Google Drive. You can easily see the folder (American Revolution) as a subfolder of My Lessons. 


With your folder(s) created, now it's time to move lessons into the folders. 


Hover your cursor over a lesson you'd like to move. Click three horizontal dots. In the dropdown menu that appears, click Add To Folder. 


In the pop that appears, choose the destination folder. You also have the option to create a new folder from this pop up as well.


When you are in My Lessons, click on the folder to open it in order to view the lessons you've organized in this folder. 


This system is great for organizing lessons by unit, grade level, lesson, templates and more. If you are familiar with the folder creation process in Google Drive, you will find Nearpod's system rather similar and easy to use. 

If you would like to bring me to your school for PD, workshops, a keynote, training or a follow-up on this or previous blogposts, click here to schedule an appointment to chat.

My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.





Thursday, September 8, 2022

Back to School with Nearpod (#2): Get Started Adding Videos with Embedded Questions

Welcome back to school! I hope this year has started off well. One thing many of us learned during distance learning was how to facilitate asynchronous learning. Some of you may stop reading this because of not wanting to deal with asynchronous learning anymore, especially that we are now back face to face. What I propose is taking some asynchronous ideas and skills and applying them to a synchronous, face to face learning environment.

Nearpod's ability to embed questions within a video is an asynchronous idea that is easily adaptable for face to face, synchronous teaching. In a nutshell, this feature allows you to use Nearpod videos, YouTube videos (safe search) or upload your own videos and embed questions at certain points within the video. If you are familiar with EdPuzzle, this is similar. The beauty of using Nearpod is that this feature is just one part of a multitude of other engaging, empowering options for lessons. 

The embedding questions within videos could be a great way to differentiate instruction. It could be used during station rotations. It allows students to go at their own pace. They have a pause and rewind button on the video. If teaching whole class teacher-led instruction, students don't have this option. Sure, they could raise their hand and ask questions, but for many kids that can be stressful. Giving them a measure of control over how they consume the content can help address students' unique SEL needs.

Enough pontificating. Let's take a look at how to get started adding videos in Nearpod with questions embedded at specific points. Once you've created a lesson, click the Add Content & Activities button.


To add videos, you have a few options. You could embed videos into a slide, but for the purpose of this blogpost, choose the Video option. When you embed a video into a slide, you cannot embed questions at specific times in the video. You can add interactive questions as a separate slide.


After clicking Video, you have a wide variety of options. By default, you will see the Nearpod Video Library. This contains standards aligned content made by the wonderful people at Nearpod. There is a tab to embed videos from YouTube. The YouTube videos are filtered with Google's Safe Search. The My Videos tab is a personal library for you where you can save videos for future reference. The Upload a Video tab allows you to upload videos you have saved on your device.


If you choose the YouTube option, you will see a search bar where you can paste at YouTube video URL or safely search YouTube right within Nearpod.


If you choose the Upload a Video option, you have options to upload videos from your computer, Google Drive, Dropbox or One Drive accounts. 


For the purposes of this blogpost, the following screenshots show the YouTube option. Below, I searched for videos about Thor. After sifting through the search results, I clicked on one to add to my Nearpod lesson.


Once the video loads, you'll see a button in the bottom middle of the screen to Add Activity. What I did here is pause the video at a certain point and clicked that button.


This allowed me to add an Open Ended Question or Multiple Choice Question.


Below is an example of a Multiple Choice Question. 


This question will pop up at the 0:08 part of the video. 


Multiple questions can be embedded throughout the entirety of the video. More than one video like this can be added to a Nearpod lesson. This function can be used for accountability, differentiation, station rotations and much much more. How might you use Nearpod's function for adding videos with embedded questions?

If you would like to bring me to your school for PD, workshops, a keynote, training or a follow-up on this or previous blogposts, click here to schedule an appointment to chat.

My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.





 

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Back to School with Nearpod (#1): Get Started for the First Time

 

Welcome back to school! Since we've returned to face to face school after distance learning, a frequent pain point I have heard from teachers is lack of student engagement. Holding all students accountable for participating is more essential than ever before. Instead of a select few who are randomly selected with popsicle sticks, Nearpod holds every kid in the room accountable for answering. Student answers are confidential and Nearpod's amazing suite of tools allows kids to engage with content and participate in learning like never before. 

If you are new to Nearpod, let's take a look at how to get started for the very first time. Begin by heading to nearpod.com and click Sign Up. I recommend using Google, Microsoft, Clever or Classlink as seen below. If those systems are not what you use, use your school email address instead.


The next step is to choose your role. Be sure to select teacher. From there, you will have to agree to terms and conditions.



Nearpod is going to ask you for some details about your role. You may select multiple options in each category.


After entering information about your role, you are all set up. Below is what your Nearpod dashboard looks like. It defaults to the My Lessons tab. To get started quickly, click the Create a Lesson button.


To start building a lesson, click the Add Content & Activities button. An extensive menu of options will appear.


The Content tab of the Lesson & Activities menu gives you a wide variety of things you can add to your lesson. For the purpose of the blogpost, I will demonstrate the bare bones basics of creating a slide. Click the Slides option.


Immediately, a slide will load. If you look closely, it closely resembles what you are used to in Google Slides. If you are familiar with Google Slides, there shouldn't be much of a learning curve. After building your slide, in the bottom right corner, you can click Save to add it to your lesson or click Save and add new to save the first slide and immediately start building a new slide.


Your saved slides will appear as seen down below. From here, you can click on any slide to add further edits.


When your lesson is saved, back in the My Lessons section, hover your mouse over the lesson. Many options for facilitation and more are available. Live Participation is useful for conducting the lesson with students all at the same time like you would with PowerPoint or Google Slides. This option will generate a code for students to use to join the lesson. The beauty of this is that the slides appear on their screens as well as on your TV or projector screen. Students with visual impairments can find seeing the lesson easier in this way. 

The Student Paced option allows students to navigate the lesson asynchronously. This can be used for homework, students who have been absent, enrichment, stations and much more. The link to a Student Paced lesson can easily be posted in the LMS of your choice. 


This is just the tip of the iceberg with Nearpod. Now that you are able to get started for the first time, the next entry in this blog series will contain tips and tricks for adding videos and questions to a Nearpod lesson. Stay tuned!

If you would like to bring me to your school for PD, workshops, a keynote or training, click here to schedule an appointment to chat.

My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.




Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Google Classroom as a PE Fitness Tracker

 

Over the years, finding ways to organically integrate edtech into PE classes has been a struggle. There are apps kids can use with their phones, but accessibility is still an issue as we cannot require all students to enable location services and other settings. This past year, I collaborated with my friend and colleague Sara Vega (legendary PE Teacher and Soccer Coach) on a way to use Google Classroom to help track fitness. We came up with the idea of building a "Class Shell" full of template posts that she would reuse each time she wanted students to check in and record some fitness data.

A "Class Shell" does not have students enrolled. It is a Google Classroom with assignment templates. Each teacher only needs to reuse the template posts in their Google Classrooms that contain students. Below are some screenshots of our PE Fitness Activity Shell. We built three categories: BMI, Cardiovascular Fitness, Flexibility and Muscular Strength.




Notice the "X's". Those are place markers for dates. Each post is a Google Classroom Question where students will enter a number of reps or time for the respective fitness activities. 

In this system, after building the templates in the Shell, teachers will open their Google Classrooms that contain students and Reuse post.


Next, choose the template to reuse.



With the reused template post, change out the "X's" for the corresponding date of the post.


Because the instructions are always the same, there is no need to change the instructions. Add your point value, set due date and topic, and click Ask.


For students, it may be easier for them to log their fitness reps or times using their phones. When in the gym or on the track, a computer, tablet or Chromebook could be problematic, but not impossible. Below is a screenshot of what it looks like on the student side using the Google Classroom mobile app.

In this example, the student entered an astounding 157 push-ups. 

On the teacher's end, like with any Google Classroom assignment, you can see the students who have turned in and not turned in in real time.



When you open the assignment, you will see at a glance the students who've turned in their reps/times and quickly give them credit or points. 


For students to monitor their progress, they can easily go back into Google Classroom, open previous submissions and see how they've grown from week to week or month to month. This system is obviously not as accurate as a fitness tracker app, but a simple, easy way to help students monitor fitness using a free tool in which they are already familiar. How might you use this hack or with which PE teachers might you share this idea? If you have any feedback or suggestions on how to improve this, please let me know. 

If you have any questions and would like a follow up, contact me via Gmail or Chat at ajuarez@techcoachjuarez.com. My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.