“How do you keep students engaged and on task?” I am frequently asked this question when I train teachers on blended learning models. The concern implied in this question is that if I am not working directly with students that they will immediately be off task or disruptive. In actuality, classroom management has never been a big issue for me. In part, I credit my lesson design for keeping them interested, engaged, and on task. I blend a mix of online and offline work that allows students opportunities to self-pace through activities, work collaboratively with their peers, and make key decisions about how they learn.
Nearpod is one tool I use to create interactive lessons that encourage students to pace their own learning and collaborate with classmates. Nearpod lessons are perfect for online stations in a Station Rotation Model or self-paced whole group lessons when I need to meet individually with students.
Nearpod allows the teacher to run “Live lessons,” which are teacher-paced, or “Student-paced.” When teachers select the “Live lesson,” they dictate what students see on their screens. As a teacher moves through a lesson, the slides automatically change on the student device so they are looking at the element of the presentation that the teacher is talking about or focused on. When the teacher selects “Student-paced,” students can navigate through the multimedia, multimodality lesson at their own pace.
Designing a Nearpod lesson is easy. Teachers can mix and match media, link to online websites, and engage students in polls, collaborative brainstorms, and written responses.
There are even “brain break” activities, like a matching game, and a drawing feature to keep kids interested and engaged.
Below is an example of a student-paced lesson I designed for our Of Mice and Men unit that combines video clips, an audio recording of the novel, a poll, open-ended questions, a matching game, and a collaborate board.
Nearpod lessons make engaging stations in a Station Rotation lesson and free me up to meet one-on-one with students to have assessment conversations or provide individualized coaching and support for students who need it.