Nearpod Goes to College
How we’re helping higher education instructors engage students
Felipe Sommer, COO and co-founder of Nearpod
Technology deployment in higher ed has always been different than K-12 classrooms. Environments are often BYOD (bring your own device), in-classroom technology platforms aren’t always mandated to educators and the variety of different learners in a given lecture hall or virtual classroom can sometimes cause a disjointed technology landscape.
But that doesn’t mean technology can’t make as big of a difference in higher ed lecture halls and active learning spaces as it does in K-12 classrooms. In fact, the 2018 National Survey of Student Engagement showed that 92% of first-year college students and 93% of seniors believe technology has contributed significantly to learning and studying.
That’s why we’re excited to launch Nearpod for Higher Education and help get college students engaged and actively learning – while also ensuring that professors can easily connect with their students. We’re applying some of the same strategies we use in our K-12 platform for higher ed, and we look forward to seeing how professors bring even more life to their lessons and lectures.
Engaging every learner in a changing environment
The higher ed space has never been more diverse. What’s more, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a higher ed classroom without some form of technology integrated, even if it’s just students taking notes on a laptop in a traditional lecture hall. In order to better serve their students and provide the best learning experience possible, instructors can benefit from leaning into technology and using it to actively engage their learners – whether they’re in-person or online.
Instructors, who are often subject-matter experts with their own content, can now leverage the built-in pedagogy within the Nearpod platform to create that experience. By making use of Nearpod’s interactive lesson and formative assessment tools, they’ll be able to easily bring active learning techniques, structure, and proven teaching methods to their existing material.
Another key difference is that many higher ed learners are now non-traditional students – such as part-time learners, returning service members, and adults returning to school. These people are motivated to learn but have many other obligations (and distractions). For these students and their instructors, we envision Nearpod as the ideal active learning platform. Instructors want to generate excitement among learners who may be working day jobs and caring for kids when they’re not in the classroom. These challenges are heightened when these learners are attending class virtually. With Nearpod, every learner can feel empowered to participate and feel connected to the classroom, no matter where they’re learning from.
The nature of higher ed also calls for much more self-paced and independent learning compared to K-12, and our platform features can help support students pursuing remote and distance learning programs to keep their studies moving forward at their own pace.
After initial pilots with 200 top institutions, we’re already seeing great success – particularly in schools of Health Sciences, Business, Law, and Education.
A platform that keeps evolving
While higher ed has some unique engagement challenges, many instructors still aim to connect with students, deliver interactive lessons, and assess understanding like their K-12 counterparts to help create active learning environments. That’s why we included features like polling and quizzes to the higher ed platform, so instructors can regularly check-in with students about what they’ve learned and differentiate instruction in the moment based on class-wide and individual comprehension.
As we gather feedback from Nearpod’s higher ed early adopters – like Illinois State and Saint Xavier University – we’ll keep evolving the platform to meet higher ed needs. From content creation to tailored features, we can’t wait to explore this market deeper and continue building out programs that suit the needs of all higher learning institutions and their learners.
As higher ed student demographics change, and as instructors experiment with new ways to keep students engaged, we’ll keep improving the platform. Come back often to Nearpod to stay up to date on our higher ed innovations.
To see how your university can work with us, visit: nearpod.com/higher-ed.
How do you foresee your institution engaging students in active learning?
It is my calling to improve the quality of life for others be it through education, entrepreneurship or anywhere needed. I obtained a BA in economics from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and received an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business. In 2012, I co-founded Nearpod, a mobile platform that empowers educators to create learning experiences that engage and inspire millions of students around the world. As CEO and co-founder, I oversee Nearpod’s everyday operations.