Monday, October 26, 2015

Pear Deck in Minnetonka Classrooms- Engaging, Interactive Lessons with Realtime Feedback

Source: Pear Deck
Starting last month, teachers in Minnetonka Public Schools began using Pear Deck with students. Pear Deck is a program that allows teachers to turn lessons into engaging, interactive activities and provide their students with immediate feedback. Teachers can convert existing PowerPoint or Google Slides into these activities, or build them from scratch.

Pear Deck's teacher view (forefront) with student view
This morning in Sara Martinson's freshman English class, students were reviewing parts of speech- verbs, prepositional phrases, subjects, etc. Sara turned the grammar lessons into an interactive Pear Deck. During the lesson, she walked around the room with her iPad which was logged in to the teacher dashboard in the web browser ( This dashboard allows her to see each student's response in real time. The students were on their iPads, also in a web browser, and had entered in a class code at which was displayed on the projector/SMART Board. So there are three views in Pear Deck: the main projector view, each student views each slide on the iPad, and the teacher view which allows the instructor to see all of the students' iPads as they write or complete activities on the slide. Since Pear Deck integrates with Google, the students' names automatically appear on the teacher's view, allowing the teacher to see who is logged in and what each person is doing.

Sara going through a grammar example
using Pear Deck's projector view.
Sara explained to me that in the past, these grammar review lessons would have been slides in SMART Notebook that she projected, and she would have had the students take turns sharing their answers with the class. Now, Sara has found that students are much more engaged with the content because they all have to complete each and every grammar sentence, whereas in the past students might have only paid full attention when it was their turn. Also, as the instructor prior to using Pear Deck, she would not have know how each student was doing, or even if each student was participating. Now she can monitor and adjust her instruction while she is able to individually see each student's work. Sometimes she displayed one of the student's responses to show the class, other times she talked through the question on the SMARTBoard and discussed the solutions.

Source: Pear Deck
She also used Pear Deck's draggable answer feature, having the students report out their comfort level with the different parts of speech by dragging a star on a line/continuum. Answers to questions can also be drawings/sketches, too. She began the lesson by having the students draw an image that highlighted their weekend. Math teachers can have students graph responses and see their equation solutions. The possibilities for any subject area pretty endless and Pear Deck has five different interactive question types.

Student view opening Pear Deck from Schoology on an iPad.
A great new feature of Pear Deck is Takeaways, just released a couple of weeks ago. A teacher can export the complete slide deck into Google Drive by generating one link. Sara did this and posted that link to her first hour class in Schoology as pictured. When students click on this link, it opens up a private copy of their slide deck with all of their individual answers so they can use it to study from in the future. This is a powerful feature that is really helpful for the students.

Pear Deck is just one of the many great tools teachers in Minnetonka Public Schools are using with students in our 1:1 iPad Program for all 6,250 students in grades 5-12. It is an example of how technology in instruction can be used to deepen learning experiences for students and make instruction more efficient and effective.

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