increase student participation

4 Ways to increase student participation

November 21, 2023Nearpod Team

As educators, we are continually challenged to uncover innovative approaches that ignite students’ curiosity, promote their active participation, and ultimately enrich their learning experiences. These techniques serve as timeless pillars of effective teaching, enabling us to create dynamic and interactive learning environments that empower students to thrive academically and beyond. So let’s get into it. Here are 4 ways to increase engagement and student participation.

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4 Ways to increase student participation

1. Rich media in interactive lessons

Experiences like labs, discussions, and even field trips open up the door for hands-on, minds-on learning. These experiences are often students’ favorite part of a unit and drive engagement and participation even after the activity is over. With Nearpod, you can move from passive to active learning by adding Virtual Reality (VR) Field Trips, Interactive Videos, and simulations to drive connections and encourage participation through exploration while embedding questions that spark critical thinking and creativity. 

VR field trips

Our 350,000 VR field trips bring the world into the classroom, and now they are bringing the world into the homes of students. Our immersive VR experiences can be used on any device with or without VR goggles.


Simulations can also be part of making those real-world connections. They engage students and the enrich learning process. Simulations allow students opportunities for exploration and hands-on, minds-on learning. With Nearpod’s integrations with PhET, you can easily embed math and science simulations into any lesson!

2. Engagement around formative assessments

Checking for understanding throughout your lesson not only drives student engagement but also gives teachers real-time insights into student learning. When classrooms aren’t physically together, it’s even more important for students to be able to show what they know and for teachers to get a pulse on what their students have learned. On the other hand, during regular in-person learning, not all students raise their hands. Nearpod provides the opportunity to hear from all students.

Formative assessment is a hallmark feature of Nearpod and student participation. You can choose from a variety of question types that give students multiple ways to demonstrate learning (and have fun!). Examples include Poll, Time to Climb, Draw It, and more. These activities are engaging for your students and provide you with reliable data on their level of understanding.

Add Nearpod’s formative assessment features to any point of your lesson or video for pre-determined checks for understanding, and hear from every student for every activity!

3. Fostering classroom community

Class community is an important part of increasing participation and engagement. With Nearpod, you can build classroom routines and foster class community, even from a distance.


One way to create a class community is through routines that bring joy (and sometimes even a little competition) to your classroom. Try using our Time to Climb quiz game as a way to assess students’ prior knowledge or as a summative assessment at the end of the week. This can be built in a moment of structure that the whole class will look forward to, and the competition and excitement will engage your students, no matter where they are. You can create your own or use our premade Time to Climb quizzes from our Lesson Library.

Collaborate Boards

Our interactive virtual discussion board, the Collaborate Board, is a great way to encourage student interaction. Students contribute responses by posting them to the prompt on a message board. Responses can be text, images, or both, meaning that student participation can happen at anytime, and you can hide student names for anonymity. Collaborate Boards are great for:

  • Priming class discussion
  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Reflecting on a skill or concept
  • Sharing experiences
  • Quick SEL check-ins

You can also add any of your favorite collaboration tools to your Nearpod lesson with a weblink.


Another routine way to build community for class participation is by incorporating Flocabulary hip-hop videos to reflect student interest and identity during instruction. Flocabulary is a great way to introduce a new topic and teach vocabulary. You can leverage the supporting activities, like Vocab Cards, to reinforce what students have learned and provide opportunities to express creativity. At the end of a unit, students could use Lyric Lab to write their own rap about the topic they’ve learned. Flocabulary videos can be added inside Nearpod lessons or used on their own. 

4. Interacting via video

Interactive Video

The interactivity teachers and students value in Nearpod slides-based lessons is now available for videos! Video instruction is such a powerful tool for teachers. However, video on its own can be passive; students sit and watch rather than interact with the information.

In the classroom, you’d pause and ask questions at key moments during a video. With Nearpod, you can pre-determine these checks for understanding, even during asynchronous instruction, and every student has the opportunity to respond on their device.

Upload a video of yourself teaching, find the perfect video on YouTube, or check out our library of over 1,000+ videos with questions already built in!

Nearpod with Flip

Nearpod now has integrated with Flip, taking video-based conversations to a new level. Flip is like a discussion board that uses video rather than text. You can use it for:

  • Book reports
  • Reflections
  • Teacher-student conferencing
  • Class debates

Students can also record themselves answering your questions. Then, you might have their classmates like and share the videos. Using Nearpod with Flipgrid can help students feel more connected with each other.

By embedding Flipgrid into your Nearpod lesson, students have a seamless experience. Easily include Flipgrid after a media source to capture student reactions and add in other question types. Students access, all with one link!

Putting it all together

Ensuring student engagement and participation is even more of a challenge than ever. With these four ways to increase student engagement and participation, your students (and you!) will be eager to log in for the next lesson.

New to Nearpod? Sign up for free to access these activities. Explore interactive activities, standards-aligned lessons, and more!

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