March 21, 2013

Nearpod Strengthens Platform to Keep Teachers in Control of BYOD in the Classroom

Nearpod was formed as a start-up last summer with one goal in mind: to create a platform that works with the recent BYOD trend in education as an assistant to teachers, without aiming to replace them.

There are many frustrations and problems teachers are facing in trying to implement and allow BYOD to enter the classroom environment will still keeping control, and Nearpod is one of a very small set of companies out there today combating this issue head-on.

The Miami-based company announced this week that it has raised $1.5 million in investments led by NewSchools Venture Fund, with contributions from the Senior Executive of Salesforce Clarence So, Real Page’s Executive Sina Shekou, and other anonymous investors.

The company will use this money to expand and strengthen its services that are currently used across 100 countries by 95,000 educators and their more than 500,000 students.

Nearpod’s system works by synchronizing both Web and mobile experiences for student and teacher access, while keeping the human interaction element that is the base of the learning process as well as the control and instruction in the teachers’ hands.

Nearpod is described as a “one part presentation creation service, one part mobile distribution channel and one part classroom response system,” creating a real-time technological question and response platform that powers personal and guided lesson plans.

Systems similar to Nearpod have found success mainly in college campuses across the U.S., using response-by-clicker technology to allow for real-time answers and analysis of whether a class understands the material or not.

Nearpod is building off of this idea by adding useful features such as HTML5 Web games, math tools like Desmos, and by gearing the platform to the elementary, middle and high school environments.

The company’s new funds will help Nearpod follow its business plan to explore more options that will create even more options for technology-based student-teacher engagement.

“We want to go after PowerPoint and the projector,” said Nearpod’s Co-Founder Guido Kovalskys.

The company’s competition mainly lies with learning management systems like Blackboard (NewsAlert), Moodle and Desire2Learn, which offer nearly unlimited services that Nearpod does not include. Yet, Neopod’s founders are not worried as the platform is an entirely different service filling a different need in education.

While the company is not yet at its $2 million goal for the end of the year, this latest revenue haul has got them nearly there, and those at Nearpod are confident that their vision will become a reality in the next few years. Whether they will be able to take on the many feature-laden learning management systems dominating the market today remains to be seen though.

Edited by Jamie Epstein


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