Nearpod, an instructional platform that merges formative assessment with media for collaborative learning experiences, announced today that it is now available to every Utah school district, under a statewide partnership with the Utah Education Network.
Originally scheduled to be rolled out this summer, the Nearpod partnership was fast-tracked to provide the ed-tech resources for distance learning since Utah schools are scheduled to stay closed until May 1.
More than 658,000 students in grades K-12 and their teachers will be able to use the company’s platform until 2024. The move means all students will have equitable access to quality educational resources, said Laura Hunter, the chief operating officer of the Utah Education Network, which provides broadband connectivity and resources to public education, higher education, and libraries in the state.
Hunter declined to disclose the amount of the contract, saying that information is considered confidential. But the product was already in use in many schools, and there are “cost savings by doing a statewide enterprise license,” she said, freeing up money districts had been putting in their budgets for access to Nearpod.
“Our schools are using [Nearpod] very differently,” said Hunter. Some teachers assign it for homework. Or it can be used synchronously with a teacher and a class.
“For us, we see how engaged learners can be with this tool,” said Hunter. When it was demonstrated to state legislators and at a community advisory board meeting, they were excited about how engaging it was, she said.
The statewide partnership, which has been in the works for over a year, is “a first for Nearpod,” the company’s new CEO, Pep Carrera, said in a phone interview.
Teachers across all of Utah’s 41 school districts and more than 100 charter schools will now have access to Nearpod’s interactive learning platform and a library of more than 7,500 standards-aligned lessons.
Educators can tap into Nearpod’s lesson content, or upload their own, while receiving real-time feedback on student progress—in or out of the classroom.
During school closures, educators can use Nearpod remotely by launching live sessions for students alongside any video conferencing tool, or by assigning self-paced lessons for students to access on their own time.
Last year, Nearpod acquired Flocabulary, a company that uses hip-hop to engage students and increase achievement.
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