Thursday, November 19, 2015

5 Reasons Why You Need To Be Using Pear Deck

As a Social Studies teacher, I consistently struggle with how to make my content exciting during those direct instruction days that seem to drag on. My first encounter with Pear Deck was at the EdTechNJ conference last year after a long day of various ‘sit and get’ style sessions. I loved the opportunity to participate and make my learning a truly fun and interactive experience. When I introduced my students to PearDeck, they had the exact same reactions!

What is Pear Deck?
Pear Deck is a GAFE integrated formative assessment tool that combines a presentation (Slides, PDF or PowerPoint) with various styles of assessment questions - Multiple choice, text, or really awesome and creative options to drag a bullet or icon to choose an answer.

The platform requires a 1:1 or BYOD environment and while most of my students have smartphones, they opted to use either an iPad or Chromebook for the larger screen. Students can either go to and type in a five letter code (which Pear Deck helps you to remember with a hilarious and adorable phrase) or you can invite students directly from Google Classroom. After students log in, that’s when the fun begins! *Note: Pear Deck was kind enough to give me a Premium account for one year, so all experiences are based on my useage of the paid version. However, I absolutely plan on purchasing the Premium version on my own after the year is up!

5 Reasons Why You Need To Be Using Pear Deck
  1. Seamless integration with GAFE tools. This is a huge time saver that makes using Pear Deck quick, efficient, and easy from login to completion of each session. One of the most awesome features is the capability to share the results of each student’s progress with them individually via the ‘Share To Classroom’ extension.  
  2. Student voice. Many of my Special Ed students are hesitant to participate in class whether due to anxiety, lack of confidence/motivation, or other reasons. Pear Deck gives even the quietest student a voice and holds them accountable for their learning. Furthermore, students take pride in seeing their answers displayed on the projector - A definite win for everyone! Aside from the fact that all answers are displayed anonymously, you have the option to choose which specific student responses are shown.
  3. Instant data. Built in opportunities for flexibility, adaptability and scaffolding using the ‘Ask A Quick Question?’ feature are huge for gathering authentic and real-time data about student understanding - and for all students, not just the ones that volunteer and raise their hand. Teachers also have the ability to lock the student’s Pear Deck screen (you’ll almost always hear a ‘Nooooo! Come on!’ at that point because they <i>love</i> playing with the different pointers and bullet marks) to maintain focus and bring the attention back to the lesson.
  4. Gamification. Competition breeds excitement. Any day when there is that tangible buzz in class is a great day, which is exactly what happens on Pear Deck days! Even though there aren’t prizes, students love being able to interact with the information being presented in an active way that feels competitive, collaborative and fun.
  5. Increased motivation and engagement. By the end of the period students are always begging me to use Pear Deck with every presentation that we do. They loved the interactive nature of the lessons and I never have behavior issues on Pear Deck days. I find that Pear Deck enhances student focused and most certainly energizes my students, just adding to the least of reasons why it is such a valuable tool!

Before using Pear Deck, I joined a free Webinar that they offered. It was a useful experience to learn the ins and outs of using and creating my own presentations, which is super easy to navigate. Overall, I think that Pear Deck is a tool that all teachers should consider using with their lessons! Here’s what my students thought of it (Ignore grammar/spelling mistakes - I was just excited that they were Tweeting!)


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