Pear Deck

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Bottom Line

This is an appealing platform that can really ramp up engagement around formative assessment.

How Can I Teach with This Tool?

The best place to start would be to use the Pear Deck add-on to convert existing PowerPoint or Google Slides presentations to Pear Deck lessons. It’s some work up front, but the payoff in student engagement is worth it. Add in a Pear Deck question slide or template to review a concept from a previous lesson, gather student questions or feedback about last night’s homework, or introduce today’s lesson with a question or problem. During a lesson, pepper in multiple-choice, true/false, and thumbs-up/-down questions, and quickly gauge whether or not you need to reteach a concept. These check-ins can also be used as discussion starters when talking about daily routines, current events, or reactions to class content. At the close of a lesson, see how well your students understood the content with an exit ticket. You can use any type of slide for these, but short-answer or number slides are good open-ended ways to assess understanding.

What Is It?

Pear Deck is an interactive presentation and lesson delivery tool that can be used via the web or as an add-on or integration with a variety of other programs. Students join teachers’ Pear Deck sessions with codes and then use their devices to follow along with the teacher’s slideshow on a classroom screen. Additionally, through a paid Premium plan, students can complete student-paced decks in class or at home. With in-person delivery, teachers can pause at points where they’ve added one of several different question types, including drawing, dragging, text, number, and multiple choice. Teachers can view students’ responses to these questions immediately, either one at a time or in a grid view, as well as share the results anonymously on-screen for all students to see. Additional features allow students to review and respond to daily news articles, create flash cards with drawings, play games, and practice responsible digital citizenship. Depending on whether they have a free or paid account, teachers also have handy controls over the student experience. For instance, teachers can lock presentations from student contribution, project student answers, and more.

Is It Good for Learning?

Pear Deck is a powerhouse for formative assessment. The effectiveness of any tool of this type, however, will depend on the teacher’s attention to lesson flow, content choice, variety, and timing. To get the most out of their lessons, teachers need to take time setting up the interactive elements. While it’s time consuming, especially at first, this interactivity is key to increasing participants’ engagement and understanding. Students at any age will appreciate the draggable responses and drawing questions. (Note, though, that some of these response types can be tricky or frustrating on phones’ cramped screens.)