Keystone Academy’s Story: Enriching Classrooms in Beijing

April 1, 2021The Nearpod Team

Summary

When Keystone Academy in Beijing transitioned to online learning in February 2020, teachers tested multiple technology resources for their classrooms. Fourth grade teacher, Tyler Rumley, wondered, “There has to be something better…”. Then he found Nearpod which, “cuts away the interference that comes from navigating many teaching platforms.” After a quick pivot and implementation, Keystone Academy teachers in both lower grades and upper grades began using Nearpod for both teacher and student-led lessons. 

Keystone Academy is incorporating technology in the classroom when it positively impacts teaching and learning and finding that supportive partner in Nearpod. In 2021, Keystone Academy students went back to the classroom and took Nearpod with them, especially in Math and ELA classes. 

Challenges:

  • Finding a learning technology solution that would flex between online learning environment of 2020 and the in-class environment of 2021 and beyond 
  • Sourcing a technology platform that is able to function seamlessly in Mainland China 
  • Providing lessons in a primarily analog, low-screen environment 

“Nearpod was transformative for how we taught online.” 

Solutions:

  • “Many features that we could really jump into.” 
  • Incorporating Nearpod into virtual and in-person classes in order to augment lesson engagement and provide teachers with easy to access in-person assessments 

Results:

  • Nearpod has been used in over 30,000 Keystone Academy lessons to date in courses such as ELA, Math, General Studies, Science, Social Studies, and World Languages
  • 37 teachers at Keystone Academy are active Nearpod users 
  • Nearpod library Math, SEL, and ELL resources are the types of lessons the most launched, slightly ahead of teacher-created lessons 
  • Teachers are no longer speaking over PowerPoints during lessons, but instead are actively engaging each student in class – lessons are 65% teacher-led and 35% student-led 
  • Teachers are able to see student work in real-time 

“I use Nearpod for pretty much everything and the student engagement is incredible. The students picked it up quickly and now they are so good at it.” 

Keys to success:

  • Students and teachers embraced technology with a curious mind 
  • Supporting instructors’ Nearpod Certified Educator applications 
  • Using the Nearpod library to its full potential 
  • Continuing to use Nearpod after the return to the classroom 

Popular Nearpod features:

  • Draw It: Fourth graders at Keystone Academy use the Draw It feature in English class to annotate sentences and underline words. The Draw It feature is a favorite because of its versatility and flexibility. 
  • Nearpod lesson library: When Mr. Rumley discovered that Nearpod not only has interactive games and real-time assessments, but also has a library of over 8,500 pre-made lessons, he was thrilled to use them in class. He “couldn’t believe all of the content that was available,” and, “was astounded how much content was online; such good quality resources.” 
  • 3D Features: At the end of 2020, fourth graders at Keystone Academy had a unit on space exploration. Students were able to get out of this world and explore using the 360 Mars Rover feature. 

“We worked through so many platforms and Nearpod was the biggest slam-dunk.” 

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