During my foray into student engagement, I stumbled upon an app called Pear Deck. A few years later and Pear Deck has redefined itself, and what it offers is pure differentiation, that both blends the learning, and offers student’s voice. As much as we try to build and design around the “student-centered” classroom, there are those pesky moments in which direct instruction makes sense. As a review. To build background. To emphasize importance or tell a neat story that adds clarification to the topic being discussed. But what makes direct instruction difficult, is finding ways to UP the engagement factor. To make it interactive. Too often, these moments leave the classroom in a daze, with no interaction between student and teacher, and minimal feedback for the teacher to use to help modify the lesson or unit.
When I was in the classroom, I minimized “MY” time to no more than 15 or 20 minutes. But even ‘MY” time became “OUR” time. Pear Deck helped me get there. I was able to turn a basic Google Slide or lecture, into an interactive, data-driven presentation that increased attention and upped student engagement. I was able to give voice to all of my students at once, This is why Pear Deck became a staple of my classroom.
By now, I’m sure you know a little bit about Pear Deck’s features. But what has intrigued me lately with Pear Deck is a slide called “web slide” where you can embed other edtech tools and websites WITHIN your presentation, never sending the students out to another site. Many apps are now integrating with each other via embed codes, and Pear Deck is no different. So what can you do with this “web slide”?
You can . . .
- Embed a Padlet (making for a great Do Now and/or Exit Ticket or Share Session)
- Embed a Google Doc, Google Sheet, Google Form, or Google Drawing (and Google Drawings can be interactive!)
- Embed a Google Map (that’s interactive)
- Embed a NewsELA article to differentiate
- Embed a Kahoot! (and never leave Pear Deck)
- Embed the Desmos Graphing Calculator
- Embed an Edpuzzle (twice the personalization, twice the fun!)
- Embed a PheT simulation
- Embed a Quizlet
- Embed a PollEverywhere
To get this to work, you will need to do a few things:
- Access the page/tool you want to add to your Pear Deck presentation
- Find and copy the share link/URL of the site/tool you want to use. Pear Deck has a pretty simple how-to guide here.
- Paste this link into your web slide in Pear Deck
Simple AND engaging. Pear Deck even has a Google Slide add-on so you can work on your interactive presentation from within Google Slides. Imagine having students follow along with your presentation while answering questions along the way to keep the engagement up and give you constant feedback. Then, POOF! An interactive Padlet board appears, requiring students to watch a video, post comparative examples to the text they are reading and comment on each other’s post. The presentation then continues until the next moment where an Edpuzzle video appears and students work at their own pace to master the concept/information. And so on . . . No stopping. Fluid and seamless tech integration.
Direct instruction no longer needs to only be MY time. There are tools readily available that enable us to make the switch, afford students voice, truly differentiate, and learn WITH our students. These are the moments where technology can truly impact the learning. These are the moments that are shifting from ME time to OUR time.