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Research in Practice- Strategic Collaboration: Student Engagement

Young boy using a technology device

Spotlight – Stories from the Field

Suzanne Taylor, Allegany County Public Schools

Suzanne’s Challenge: How can I implement web-based strategies to promote engagement, collaboration, and communication for students in hybrid learning environments?

In a virtual or hybrid setting, many teachers find it challenging to promote collaboration and discussion between students. Several studies have presented evidence that the practice of using web-based technology like Nearpod can increase students’ engagement and interaction with the instructor and each other. Looking to increase student engagement in virtual instruction, Allegany County Public Schools provided access to Nearpod and training for its teachers.  Suzanne was looking forward to using the tool because she “saw many engaging activities that could be used for collaboration in small or large classroom groups.” The discussion board is a nice way to collect responses because students do not have to identify themselves personally. Students can add virtual “sticky notes” to respond to the question, or they can use images.

Once her students had some experience using Nearpod for simpler activities she began using it for reading intervention. “Nearpod enabled me to present the book and the students were able to collaborate to add predictions on the text and notations. In terms of the word study part of their independent read, I was able to adapt it to a Nearpod matching activity for them to work on in groups. The activity culminated in a vocabulary game for students to test their knowledge of the book’s vocabulary words and to compete with each other to answer comprehension questions. This activity met with a lot of enthusiasm from the kids.” The application was appropriate for students of differing abilities and experiences. Nearpod also enabled Suzanne to collect quick data through formative assessment, which in turn, enabled her to give immediate, meaningful feedback. Nearpod has proven to be a workable tool for use in Suzanne’s virtual setting and she was able to keep using it once the students returned for hybrid instruction.

Implementation Plan

Time:  Ten minutes to prepare activities

Materials/Resources: Nearpod

Steps:

Warm-Up:

  1. Set-up discussion prompt in Nearpod before class starts
  2. Present the class with a discussion question or query at the beginning of class and have students use the Nearpod discussion board to respond to the warm up 
  3. Present and use the responses on the discussion board to ask questions, clarify answers, and, hopefully elicit verbal or written responses to the discussion board comments

Active Learning throughout lesson:

  1. Upload documents into the Nearpod app 
  2. Students can interact with the text by marking it up and responding to teacher questions and comments 

Exit Slip Activity:

  1. Create a “Climb to the Top” Game with “quiz” questions for use as exit slip
  2. Students demonstrate knowledge by answering questions in a friendly, fun, and competitive way

Implications for Practice/Conditions for Success

  • Teachers should have access to professional development/training
  • Teachers should prepare Nearpod activities in advance

Supporting Research and Resources

Chen, C., Huang, C., Gribbins, M, & Swan, K. (2018). Gamify online courses with tools built into your learning management system (LMS) to enhance self-determined and active learning. Online Learning, 22(3), 41- 54. 

McClean, S. & Crowe, W. (2017). Making room for interactivity: using the cloud-based audience response system Nearpod to enhance engagement in lectures, FEMS Microbiology Letters, 364(6) https://doi.org/10.1093/femsle/fnx052. Retrieved from: https://academic.oup.com/femsle/article/364/6/fnx052/3063743?login=true 

Mohssen, H. (2020). Using Nearpod as a tool to promote active learning in higher education in a BYOD learning environment. Journal of Education and Learning, 9(1) 119-126. 

Sanmugam, M., Selvarajoo, A, Ramayah, B. & Lee, K. (2019). Use of Nearpod as an interactive learning method. INTED2019 Proceedings, 1, 8909- 8915. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.21125/inted.2019.2219

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