Nearpod Co-teacher and more!

Co-teachers rejoice! Co-teacher support is here! Nearpod continues to innovate and several of the newer features specifically address the new realities of remote and hybrid learning. And let’s be honest, those are here to stay to some degree post-COVID.

Let’s take a look at the newest features first. We’ll then work our way back in time a little as we scroll down, in case it’s been a minute since you explored Nearpod.

Co-teacher Feature

First up, co-teacher support. I worked in Special Education for over 20 years. I was, in fact, a co-teacher when in first started using Nearpod. If my co-teacher and I were in the same room, it really didn’t matter that one of us had all the teacher controls and views, while the other just joined the session as a student, because either one of us could just walk up to the other and look at their screen. That’s a lot harder to do when I’m in my basement and your sitting at your kitchen table. And, let’s be honest, Pear Deck could already handle this task, so why couldn’t Nearpod?

There are now two ways to make someone a co-teacher during your Nearpod Live Lesson. First, you can create a separate link to join as a co-teacher. Do your students join your Live sessions via you sharing a url with them? You can still copy and paste that, for example, into the chat of the Microsoft Teams, Meeting, Google Meet, or Zoom session you’re already on with them. You do not want to paste the co-teacher link there. Then any of your students can click and join as co-teachers.

You’ll want to email that. Or send it in a Teams chat external to the meeting chat, or something similar so only your actual co-teacher can be your Nearpod co-teacher. You also do not want to be screen sharing your teacher view when you open the co-teacher link. Otherwise some enterprising young ones might grab a quick screenshot and type that into a browser!

Screenshot showing the student join code link and the new co-teacher link for a Nearpod live session

The other way is to just have your co-teacher join with the student link like everyone else. Then click on the bottom left corner of the teacher screen to show participants. This is where you would have gone in the past to see who is signed in and what name they signed in with, and remove them if necessary. Now, in addition to removing people, you can also promote them to co-teacher by toggling that on next to their name.

Screenshot of participant list in a Nearpod session with dropdown to remove or make Co-Teacher
You're now a co-teacher! 
You can view the teacher dashboard to see 
student responses in real time. 

Students as co-teacher

The main point of this feature is clearly for actual co-teachers. But Nearpod is gearing up to release some sort of student accounts in the Near future. I’m not entirely sure what that will entail yet. However, we have a down payment of sorts with the co-teacher feature, because the Teacher can make any participant into a co-teacher, including students. So, if you’ve ever had students doing a project or presentation wanting to use Nearpod to present, there’s a way to enable that now through the teacher’s account.

The co-teacher can’t do everything  the teacher can do, but the most important thing is that they can see student responses as they come in. When you first become a co-teacher, you might mistakenly think the only thing you got was the ability to move everyone form one slide to another. But when you get to an activity like a Poll, Quiz, Open Ended Question or Draw It, your screen will look like the teacher’s, not like a students. Instead of a place to respond, you will see everyone else’s responses. You will not, however, get the end of session report. The teacher will have to share that if you need access to it. Here’s a summary of what you can/can’t do as a co-teacher.

GIF scrolling through teacher view, co-teacher view and student view of two Nearpod slides


For example, only teachers have these next two new features. At any point during a live session, the teacher can open a whiteboard. This function is similar to the Add Activity (on the fly) feature, in that when the Teacher selects Whiteboard, the whiteboard supercedes what ever slide everyone was on and the whiteboard appears on everyone’s screen. As the teacher draws, writes or types on their screen, everyone sees it. Great for solving math problems or modelling any writing or drawing process.

It is essentially a draw-it activity minus the add image. When the teacher closes the Whiteboard, everyone sees whatever slide the class was on. After you progress through more slides, when the teacher reopens the whiteboard, the contents are still there, so you can add to it. (Pro-tip- use the whiteboard to make predictions, then re-open a few slides later to revise predictions, then a few slides later to see if you were correct.)

You can erase the whiteboard and start fresh at any time.

Screenshot of a whiteboard in Nearpod showing digital inking and a textbox with highlighting

Annotate on slide

For those of you who are thinking, “That’s great for math teachers to write and solve problems on a plain white screen, but I want to ink on top of a diagram, or annotate on top of an image of text,” tat’s what the Annotate feature is for.

Teachers can select

screenshot of message to teacher that when they annotate on a slide all students will see in real-time

Annotate on any content (as opposed to Activity) slides and ink directly on the slide, which also appears on every participants’ screens. Teachers have the same options- pen, highlighter and text boxes- as they do with the whiteboard. Unlike the whiteboard, the annotation stays on one slide. That means that when you move to another slide, the ink stays put in the slide you annotated. You can turn on Annotate on another slide and the ink stays with that slide as well. You can toggle the ink layer on or off at any time.

Screenshot of Close Annotate button

Lesson Settings

Do yourself and your students a favor. Actually three favors. From your Nearpod library, select your avatar in the top right corner. Select Lesson Settings. Toggle on the first three options.

screenshot of account settings
Screenshot of description of the lesson settings Enable student names to autofill, Enable Immersive Reader, and Enable Student Notes

Enable Student Names

Enabling student names to autofill solves a few problems. It is the solution to students selecting inappropriate names, or selecting names so you can’t identify who they really are. It also prevents students who are not even in your class from joining your session to be disruptive.

This forces students to log in with a Microsoft or Google account. Nobody can join your session without you knowing exactly wo they are, and that name is attached to anything they submit.

Immersive Reader

Immersive Reader is an entire suite of reading accessibility tools from Microsoft. You have a choice. Make your Nearpod lessons more accessible, or less accessible. Make the right choice!

Student Notes

The third setting enables students to save the Nearpod lesson in their Google Drive or OneDrive. This isn’t “notes” in the traditional sense. Even if they don’t literally record any notes during the session, they should still save the “notes” to their drive, because it is actually the entire session. When they open the notes, they can reopen videos and virtual tours, and see their responses and even everyone’s responses on a collaborate board. If any of your students will be motivated to look back over your lesson, why would you prevent them from doing so?

Activity Libraries

Nearpod already has over 8500 standards-based complete lesson plans. There are over 5000 Interactive videos. (Videos that pause to ask open-ended and multiple choice questions.) Now Nearpod also helps you create and edit your own lessons by providing 100s of pre-made activities. Before you create your own Matching Pairs activity, Draw It or even Time to Climb, search for your topic in the sidebar that pops up and see if one has already been made for you! Fully editable, of course.

Screenshot of new activity library for Matching Pairs

We’re going to stop there. These are just the most recent additions to an already incredibly robust platform combined with so much engaging K-12 content for all varieties of learners. Hopefully you already know about creating interactive videos (think Edpuzzle or Playposit, although Microsoft Stream videos have a similar feature as well.) And you can toggle on the ability for students to respond to an open-ended question via audio instead of having to type a response. (They get a choice.)

Looking for more? How about the Remote Learning with Microsoft Teams Course Sign up to learn how to go from a complete novice in Teams to using Teams for your complete solution for remote learning.  

Remote Learning with Microsoft Teams Course

If you like this style of directions and screenshots, walking you through ideas for using Microsoft tools in your classroom, check out my new (2nd Edition) book,

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