The standard lecture has plenty of detractors, and rightfully so. Done poorly, it can be an uninspired stream of facts, delivered in sit-and-get style that get forgotten quickly.
However, we can turn the standard lecture — and its tool of choice, the presentation slide! — on its head.
The result can be students actively working with new ideas. Hands-on. Right away.
Presentation slides can be a drag.
But when students (and teachers!) have something interactive to do with them, it changes the game.
That’s what I love about Pear Deck. And, of course, the best news: much of what I show you in this post can be done with the free plan!
(Note: I have no official relationship with Pear Deck, and I’m not being paid for writing this post. I’m just a Pear Deck user who loves the potential for it and wants to share it with others! I was given a Pear Deck premium account for review.)
It’s a way to turn your presentation slides into interactive activities for your students. (It also works wonderfully with teachers in professional development!)
If you're using Google Slides, Pear Deck makes it super easy to get started. Pear Deck has created a Google Slides add-on. This makes it SUPER easy to make your slides interactive right from Google Slides.
That’s pretty easy, too. If you’re using Google Slides, just create the slides that you want to display to your students. Then, use the sidebar menu to add interactive elements to each slide.
(You can do all of this at peardeck.com with PowerPoint slides, too.)
The bonus with Pear Deck: You can turn any of those slides into interactive slides. Some of the options include having students …
Pear Deck has a slide library where you can choose pre-created activities …
Set up your slide deck the way you want. The next step — let’s get students connected to it so they can interact!
Getting Started with Pear Deck is written by Pear Deck Certified Coaches Mary Alys Foutz and Mike Mohammad. This ebook will walk you through everything from installing the add-on for Google Slides, to using the Teacher Dashboard.
Once all of your slides are designed and ready to go (including interactive slides), it’s as easy as clicking “Present with Pear Deck” in your sidebar menu.
It will create a screen you can display to students on your projector, interactive display or flat panel. It will prompt students go to joinpd.com (think “join Pear Deck”) and enter the join code.
When you’re ready to start, your slides will be displayed on the students’ devices. From the teacher device, you can …
From there, you display the slides. Students interact. You do what you want with student responses.
The new Add Audio feature lets you record or upload audio files to lessons. Students can listen to those audio files on their devices. This is a really helpful feature for remote learning -- especially when students are using Pear Deck in student-paced mode.
Teachers spoke and we listened...and now your students can listen, too! #PearDeck Student-View Slides now include audio! 🎤 Layer audio over any slide type, in any Pear Deck for Google Slides lesson.— Pear Deck (@PearDeck) April 28, 2020
This new feature is now live! 🎉 #remotelearning pic.twitter.com/2ycV0BgX76
Explain answers. When you talk about a problem students need to solve -- or a question that needs answered -- how you arrived at your answer is important. Having a teacher-guided answer with explanation can help students understand.
Read a story. Record audio of your voice while you read a favorite story -- or a new story! -- to students remotely. Students can even download the audio file to listen to later.
Guide pronunciation. Model how to pronounce new terms and vocabulary words in an audio file.
Pear Deck gives you interactive options when teaching remotely.
Students can progress through interactive Pear Deck slides independently in student-paced mode.
In the video below, I gave a webinar on how to use student-paced mode. Check it out to see how student-paced mode works, how it can be used for remote learning, and for answers to common questions.
Flip through the webinar slides (below) to get a feel for how student-paced mode works.
Here are a bunch of ideas, from the basic to the geeky. On most of these, I’ll default to the free question types (and will note which ones require a premium account).
1. Ask students what they already know about the topic with a text question. (You might be surprised what they already know … or what they don’t know!)
2. Ask students if they’re ready to move on with a multiple choice question. (This sure beats raising hands, where you don’t always get honest answers.
3. Draw out a mind map to diagram what you’ve been studying.
4. Retell what you’ve learned that day in your own words. This is another digital version of the ultra brain-friendly “brain dump” I described in this post.
5. Ask students to create a new ending/outcome for something you’ve studied that day.
6. Ask students to describe their thinking process instead of providing the answer. (A focus on the process can illuminate student understanding better than an answer many times.)
7. Have students put items in order (chronological, sequential, etc.). List the items on the slide and have students write them out in the correct order.
8. Predict what happens next in a video or a story. Show a short video clip or an image … or stop in the middle of a story in class.
9. Label a diagram. Add an image of the diagram (without labels) on the slide. Have students add the labels.
10. Create an advertisement. You add an image or two to a slide. Have students add text to the slide to create a compelling ad based on what you’ve learned.
Pear Deck has some great users doing very cool things, too! Here are some from their great library of examples from the classroom …
14. Teach coordinate graphs with draggable dots (premium) and a coordinate plane. See how in this How Math Teachers Use Pear Deck document.
15. Teach grammar with draggable icons (premium) by displaying a paragraph and having students identify different parts of it. See how in this How ELA Teachers Use Pear Deck document.
16. Display a short passage of text with a drawing slide (premium). Ask students to use the highlighter to highlight an example and the text box to explain why they picked that example.
17. Count the number of forces on the object in a diagram like the one below. Ask students to enter the number in a number slide. (via Pear Deck) See more in this How Science Teachers Use Pear Deck document.
18. Have students in a world language class translate a sentence with a text slide. Then, see how the same idea can be translated differently in a variety of ways. See more in this How World Language Teachers Use Pear Deck document.
19. Add a map to a draggable (premium) slide — or add a map the draggable slide in the “During lesson” slide library. Have students identify locations on the map. See more in this How Social Studies Teachers Use Pear Deck document.
20. Use a map like in the example above … but use a drawing slide (premium) and have students circle / draw an outline around certain regions you’ve been studying.
1. Customize the slide library. Use the pre-designed slides by Pear Deck, but add your own customizations. For instance, instead of a simple happy/sad face to ask students how they feel, add emojis or memes!
2. Do vocabulary the Pear Deck way. Check out “Pear Deck Vocabulary” for an interactive way to do flashcards with your students. (It’s part of the free plan!) It integrates with Quizlet and Merriam-Webster to create lists in a snap. Students can even help you illustrate flashcards with the “Flashcard Factory.”
3. Get up to speed quick with a webinar. Pear Deck offers teachers free webinars on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 11 a.m. (lunch break!) and 4 p.m. (school’s out!) Eastern time. Learn the features and best practices from the Pear Deck pros.
4. Insert a new question on the fly. Classroom discussions are organic things, aren’t they? If you think of a question off the top of your head — or if your students do — you can add it to your Pear Deck presentation. Just use the “Add new question” button. (It looks like a speech bubble with a plus sign.) You can change your current question to a different type of question, re-ask the same question, or start a brand new question. See below (or here’s a quick YouTube video to show you how).
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