Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated July 2019

Pear Deck

Interactive slideshows offer a variety of ways to engage and assess

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
4–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (7 Reviews)
Privacy (See details)

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Pros: The appealing, engaging presentation platform collects on-the-spot data to gauge student understanding.

Cons: Lack of built-in follow-ups to student answers presents some limitations, and there are few collaborative features.

Bottom Line: While it has some limits, the useful presentation features provide terrific options for formative assessment from any device.

The best place to start would be converting one of your existing PowerPoint or Google Slides presentations into a Pear Deck presentation or copying one of the example decks on the site. It's some work up front, but the payoff in your students' engagement will most likely be worth it. Begin a lesson with a slide using the Classroom Climate add-on to gauge your students' feelings about a topic or just as a check-in. Then move to a poll question and discuss the results briefly before moving on to an open-ended question, such as "What would school be like without the arts?" Ask kids to draw or type their responses, and share some of the more creative ones on a whiteboard as a basis for teachable moments -- or just to give a shout-out to students who think outside the box. Finally, consider using the Flashcard Factory feature to let students work in tandem to create a set of classroom flash cards for export into Quizlet.

As you teach new concepts, be sure to balance the ratio of questions to informational slides. For review lessons, it's OK to lean more heavily on objective questions, but kids will be more drawn in by the creative components. Regardless of the purpose, mix up the question types you're using to keep your lessons lively and fresh. Your students' responses should help you differentiate future lessons to target areas for growth. 

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Pear Deck is an interactive presentation and lesson delivery tool designed to enhance learning as students move through a slideshow. Pear Deck's platform-neutral design makes it a great fit for both 1-to-1 and BYOD settings. Students use their devices to follow along with the teacher's slideshow on a classroom screen, or through a paid Premium plan, kids 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, as well as share the results anonymously on-screen for all students to see. The Be Internet Awesome digital citizenship curriculum allows teachers to present lessons via Google Slides on topics such as kindness, bravery, alertness, and more.

On the setup side, teachers will need to take some time preparing presentations and adding the interactive elements that make the platform engaging. Pear Deck has made this process somewhat easier for teachers, not only with a huge repository of ideas but also through integrations with Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint. Other partners such as Merriam-Webster and Newsela integrate with Pear Deck to help teachers incorporate content more seamlessly, while features like Flashcard Factory give kids a chance to work as individuals or in teams to create study sets that the whole class can use.

Pear Deck's simple, clean interface makes it very easy to use, which is a big plus. 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 Pear Deck, teachers need to take time setting up the interactive elements. This interactivity is key to increasing participants' engagement and understanding.

Students will especially love answering the drawing questions. The ability to doodle out their answers can benefit students with a variety of backgrounds and learning preferences, particularly English language learners (ELLs) and students with unique needs.  Keep in mind that once students respond, they're likely to look to the teacher for immediate feedback, which may present challenges depending on the question type. While Pear Deck's feedback for teachers is good, it's not a two-way street. Teachers will want to be thoughtful when showing examples and giving feedback, especially when displaying student responses which, although anonymous, might still identify students. Teachers can also share Takeaways, a Google Doc that includes all of the slides and student answers, to further extend the learning. Teachers have editing rights, which allow them to leave comments for individual students. They should just be sure to block out any personal information a student may have inadvertently shared.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Students will appreciate the interactivity of the slideshows, which get them drawing, writing, and responding to teacher-created prompts and polls. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Slideshows peppered with interactive assessments can support students' understanding and retention. More feedback options on both ends would give teachers a better look at student performance.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Help articles, training decks, and tutorial videos provide guided support to get started. There aren't many options to differentiate since everyone gets the same deck, but there are opportunities for teachable moments. 


Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

Teacher Reviews

(See all 7 reviews) (7 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Amy P. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Ceres High School
Ceres, United States
Pear Deck is a game changer! Student engagement, scores, and understanding was MUCH higher than last year. Easy for me and my students.
Pear Deck has been amazing for just-in-time teaching. It allows my classroom to feel more like a big tutoring session rather than a lecture. More of the heavy lifting is being done by students, and I can see their thinking as it is happening. This allows me to make whole class adjustments, small group adjustments and intervene one-on-one if necessary. I feel like I have a better picture of where the entire class is as we are learning the material, rather than a day or two later when the homework is ...
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