According to the organization Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21, 2007), 21st century learners are to have critical thinking skills, communication skills, collaboration skills, and creativity skills in learning. Technology skills and digital literacy skills are other component they are expected to be proficient in, according to the ELA Minnesota State Standards (2010). Therefore, as educators teaching in the 21st century to 21st century learners, we must stay up to date with technological tools that can allow for our learners to still acquire learning skills, while accessing and acquiring innovation skills with technology. In this paper, the author will be analyzing the programs Nearpod (Nearpod, 2010) and Quizlet Live (Quizlet Inc., 2016).
Nearpod (Nearpod, 2010) is a technology program that transforms lectures and note-taking into an engaging, interactive experience. The program is setup like PowerPoint (Microsoft Corporation, 2016) or Google Slides (Google Inc., 2016), which can easily be supplemented into hardcopies, which could be given to learners instead of digital avenues. However, Nearpod (Nearpod, 2010) brings abilities that cannot be found without technology when presenting information and ideas to learners. Within Nearpod (Nearpod, 2010), an educator can create a lesson, adding content into different slides. All learners are locked into the program, allowing the educator to control what is on their screens and how they interact with the content. The interactions of this program include making marks or drawing an answer, typing a response to a question, being sent to a certain website to explore, going on a 3-D fieldtrip, multiple choice questions, taking polls, and more. Nearpod (Nearpod, 2010) allows learners to be active with their learning, practicing new concepts as they learn them. They also are able to see the information right in front of them, helping some with note-taking abilities.
Educators are not only allowing their learners to “play” while they learn, but are able to gather instant feedback as they do so. This formative feedback is crucial, especially when introducing new concepts to the learners. You are able to see who is struggling, what they are struggling with, and whether new concepts need to scaffold with old ones. Not only that, but Nearpod (Nearpod, 2010) also provides already-made content lessons, aligned to the Common Core State Standards, that educators can access. Through introducing new concepts, educators are able to let their learners practice, see where they need the most help, and add in activities that will help keep the learners engaged.
Quizlet Live (Quizlet Inc., 2016) is a program that allows for learners to study concepts in your content area while being engaged, collaborating, and communicating with one another. Unlike the program Quizlet (Quizlet Inc., 2010), which allows for learners to study concepts on their own, Quizlet Live (Quizlet Inc., 2016) forces learners to interact with their classmates in class, in order to achieve the goal of the correct answer. The setup of the program is simple and user-friendly. You ask your learners to go to the Quizlet Live (Quizlet Inc., 2016) website, input their username, and begin to determine which teams they will be on. Once the teams are set, show your learners which team they are on and allow for them to move next to their team. Though some may not want to move near their teammates, it is vital that they do. Every team will see the same question, but only one person per team will have the correct answer. This not only keeps the learners actively engaged with one another, but forces them to collaborate and access prior knowledge learned. The first team to 12 points wins. As the teams get the correct answers, they receive points. However, one wrong answer sends the team back to the beginning. Therefore, learners learn quickly that they must work together in order to achieve victory.
Though this program may seem like a wild competition, it is so much more than that. This gives learners the opportunity to gain collaborative skills, communication skills, and critical thinking skills. Learning with this program is another creative way we can engage learners through the use of technology. This program cannot be replicated without technology, which shows that this program is a tool and not just for supplemental value. While learners find active engagement and opportunities to collaborate, educators are able to use this program as a formative assessment. Quizlet Live (Quizlet Inc., 2016) allows for educators to see the outcomes for each learner within each question. With this formative data, educators can see what concepts learners struggle with, excel in, and decide what needs re-teaching before moving on.
Overall, both Nearpod (Nearpod, 2010) and Quizlet Live (Quizlet Inc., 2016) have changed the way I do things in my classroom. My learners are both learning and engaged. They enjoy getting the opportunity to learn with technology, gaining multiple skills at a time. Through all of the diverse learners that I have, these two programs apply to everyone. It also greatly helps me gather instant feedback so I can better assist my learners through their academic journey.
Google Inc. (2016). Google slides. Retrieved from https://docs. google. com/presentation/u/0/
Microsoft Corporation. (2016). Microsoft powerpoint. Retrieved from https://office.live.com/start/PowerPoint.aspx
Nearpod. (2010). Nearpod. Retrieved from https://app.nearpod.com/home
P21. (2007). Framework for 21st century learning. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/aboutus/p21-framework
Quizlet Inc. (2005). Quizlet. Retrieved from https://quizlet.com/
Quizlet Inc. (2016). Quizlet for teachers. Retrieved from https://quizlet.com/teachers