I’ve been using Nearpod in my classroom the past few weeks to enhance the old boring PowerPoint and get some engagement at the same time.  Nearpod is an app for IOS or Android but you have to upload your content first using the Web Interface at


It is free to use with a limited amount of space to upload or create your own NPPs as they are called in Nearpod-ese.  There are also many NPPs available to use for free that have been shared by other users.  Some sets cost additional money, for example Time for Kids costs $14.95 for the set at the time of this writing.

I used Nearpod to check students’ understanding when introduce coefficients and subscripts for chemical formulas for chemistry.  I had the original PowerPoint on my screen at the front of class while I created an NPP with, “draw it” slides where students could write and submit answers.

It worked well.  I ran into two problems.  The first one was that Nearpod kept complaining that I had over 50 students connected when in fact my largest class has 32 students in it.  The second problem I had is when I shared out student answers.  Some students just got a blank screen instead of the shared student screen.

Overall I think that it is an app I will use again.  It does require some prep to use before class, but I think it can be worth the student engagement and results that I am able to get from the teacher app.

The Many Uses of Animoto

I like free.  I especially like free when it involves a cool tool like Animoto.  You can sign up for a free Animoto Plus Account at  Be sure to use your school e-mail address to sign up for a new account.  An educator account will allow you to create Plus accounts for students and also gives you a Plus account to use.  You will need to apply for the educator account every six months, but it is definitely worth it.  I can’t explain what Animoto does, so here is an Animoto of one of my class rocket launches:

There are 47, “Styles” to choose from which are basically what is playing behind your pictures.  You add the pictures that you have downloaded from the Internet or that you have taken with a digital camera.  Finally add music and then publish it.  Voila!

Students LOVE to use animoto!  One of my favorite thing to do is have them find appropriate pictures for vocabulary words.  One unit this works particularly well in  is when we talk about Biomes.  I have students find pictures representing the climate, plans and animals that live in that particular biome and a map of where that biome is.  The students have fun, and share their project on their own Google Site.

Have you had the opportunity to use Animoto in your classroom?  If so, how did you use it?  If not, how do you see yourself using it in a lesson?  Let us know in the comments.