Following on from our introductory article on Nearpod, iMedicalApps is pleased to launch a three part tutorial demonstrating how to utilize Nearpod for medical education.
This article will focus on preparing presentations for small group tutorials using Nearpod.
By the end of this article, the user will be able to:
- Log in and access Nearpod
- Understand the different types of interactive content Nearpod offers
- Build a simple presentation utilizing Nearpod
- Publish that presentation and be ready to start a new tutorial
Before we begin, it is clear that to maximize use of Nearpod you need a certain infrastructure.
- Each of the students must have access to a mobile device/computer.
- There must be a suitable internet connection
- In order to take advantage of the interactive feature set, students must use an iPad
The first step is to sign up for Nearpod. This is free on Nearpod.com and allows each user the ability to start building presentations. To be clear though, the basic option is free. There is a range of paid upgrade options available for those looking to run institutional programs (as per the screenshot below).
One of the strengths of Nearpod is the ability to introduce interactive elements directly into presentations. This allows students to increase engagement with the content and allows teachers to test students understanding throughout a seminar. The Nearpod interactive features, which can all be integrated with a presentation, can be seen in the screenshot below:
Nearpod offers teachers a number of methods of preparing presentations. First, users must create a presentation in either Powerpoint or PDF and upload it to Nearpod. At the moment, Nearpod does not support “dynamic features” in PDFs such as videos, audio files, animations or web links. These dynamic features will be inactive in the PDF documents and each slide animation will be converted into a static image.
The presentation is then displayed as a number of slides which can be rearranged by simply dragging them around the screen. One of the frustrating limitations is the inability to edit the content of the slides (although it is possible to add additional content on top). Adding further interactive content is as simple as clicking the ‘Add’ tab. This presents the options seen above which can then be added into the presentation. These can be inserted between slides and moved around by simply dragging the slide.
The various options for quizzes and polls are useful as is the ability to add a picture on which the students can then draw. This is particularly useful for subjects that heavily rely on visual media such as anatomy, histology, or radiology. Students have the option to add free text to the image which is then returned to the teacher who can review the answer (and share it with other students if desired).
Planning and preparing an effective presentation is probably the most difficult aspect of using Nearpod. Teachers should have a clear idea going in of how they plan to integrate the interactive technology and not just use it for its own sake. Once a presentation is saved, then teachers can preview it, share it, or clone it. The preview function is helpful for practicing the presentation as well as ensuring that all of the questions and interactive content has been displayed appropriately.
When the teacher has finished preparing a presentation, they must ‘Publish It’. This ensures that the presentation is ready to be distributed to students. To actually launch the presentation, the teacher must go to the ‘Engage’ tab. In this view, teachers can see any presentations they have published. In order to start a new session, the teacher simply clicks ‘Live Session’ which then launches the presentation and provides a unique PIN which can be distributed to students to sign in to the particular session.
The next article in the series will examine how a Nearpod presentation actually works in a live teaching scenario.