State rolls out new platform early to help with school at home

Education

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The State of Utah is rolling out a new online platform for teaching online; it’s called Nearpod and every student in the state has access through the Utah Education Network

Jennie Kristoffersen is the Chief Academic Officer at Nearpod; she explained, “Teachers are great curators of content, but the reality is that’s served up to a parents and students and they are getting lost. With Nearpod, we move what might take you ten clicks, down to one click and a highly engaging experience.”

Nearpod is an online lesson platform that was already coming to Utah. Our legislature approved it in the budget for the next school year, but because of the dismissal, they’ve brought it out early. 
Going through a lesson feels like a very engaging slideshow, nowhere to get lost, but lots of engagement. Kristofferson said, “It’s really pretty simple, a teacher can take multi media like video, virtual reality, websites and they merge that with assessments.”

Those assessments can be anything a teacher can think of like matching, true-false, and even drawing. Teachers can plug in original content in seconds or use one of the thousands of lessons already created and aligned to Utah standards.

The one thing it doesn’t have: passwords. 

Michael Hakkarinen is an Instructional Technology Trainer for the Utah Education Network, he’s been training teachers on Nearpod for years. He said, “Students don’t need an account to use this. the only account is for the teacher. There’s no student data, so it’s totally private.”

Classrooms have been slowly incorporating online learning over the years, but educators say this rapid and forced online schooling may just be the catalyst to a more blended environment in the future. 

Hakkarinen said, “We need to evaluate what we are spending in person time on with students. We don’t replace the teacher with that online learning, but we replace the heavy backpack kids are coming home with.  

Nearpod is available to all public schools in Utah right now. 

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