Getting Peachy with Pear Deck

Pear Deck seems to be calling me this fall. In an online workshop on Hybrid teaching with Emma Pass @emmabpass she raved about Pear Deck being one of her favorite edtech tools. Additionally, the technology specialists at my school offered two workshops on Pear Deck integration into our hybrid model. My science teacher now says it has changed her teacher life for the better. Due to the universe pointing me in the Pear Deck direction, I decided to update a few activities with Pear Deck and see for myself the benefits of using this digital platform.

Pear Deck is awesome because of the ability to directly add interactive questions (multiple choice, short answer, drawing, matching) into Google Slides (or Power Point). This capability makes it easy to collect formative assessment data when delivering a lesson synchronously remote or in person. There is also an option to make the lesson “self-paced” so students can move through the lesson independently and interact with materials, follow links, and answer questions. Here is a video that provides a little overview:

Here are some additional benefits to using Pear Deck:

  • The “Classroom Climate” when turned on allows students to reflect on their mood pre-lesson, post lesson, and students can reflect on how they thought the lesson went.
  • Utilize and turn on “Immersive Reader” for slides in your Pear Deck Sessions.
  • Using the Templates from the “Templates Library,” “Orchard” and “Weekly Wonders” provides innovative ways to have students engage with the content they are studying. The Orchard has ready-made templates that are edible and adaptable. You can drop them into any of your lessons. Weekly wonders are curated content from educational and inspirational sources on the web — think Wonderopolis. Each week three decks are released and each includes a video or article paired with 2-3 discussion prompts and short activity.
  • The Teacher Dashboard allows you to see work in real time and provide meaningful and timely feedback.
  • “Takeaways” allows you to publish personalized review Doc for teach student that contains every Pear Deck slide and that student’s response. This allows for feedback for students and material review.
  • Pear Deck has teamed up with Newsela to create free, ready to teach activities. Every Monday, five decks are released featuring an adaptive news article and interactive prompts to help explore current events. They are designed to help improve literacy, enhance critical thinking skills, and build classroom community

I am currently teaching in a Hybrid learning model with half of my students remote and the other half in person. Taking a teaching idea I found on Teachers Pay Teachers of “Figurative Language Truth or Dare” I adapted the questions onto Google Slides with Pear Deck for a live game of Truth or Dare. Students were given options to respond to a truth or a dare question/activity. Most students told me they enjoyed the choice and were able to review figurative language in an engaging way.

Need more reasons to use Pear Deck with your students? Matt Miller of Ditch That Textbook created this video on teaching lessons remotely with Pear Deck and he offers a dozen or more ideas how to use Pear Deck with your students on his blog:

Pros – Students will appreciate the interactivity of the slideshows, which get them drawing, writing, and responding to teacher-created prompts and polls. Slideshows peppered with interactive assessments can support students’ understanding and retention. 

Cons – Some students might use the slides to write what ever they wanted. For example, one of my students during Figurative Language Truth or Dare decided to draw a ladybug instead of matching the similes and metaphors – it was clear that he wasn’t engaged in the lesson.

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