Common Sense Review
Updated October 2014

Pear Deck

Go beyond the basics with interactive slideshows to assess and engage
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • Design slides with images, citations, and question types revealed.
  • You can also design slides with a videos and multiple-choice questions.
  • Student View: Here, a simple blank-grid style question has directions posted at the top.
  • Teachers can see students' responses to the draggable-dot question.
  • Teachers can view students' responses by name as students submit their writing.
This appealing, engaging presentation platform collects on-the-spot data about student understanding.
Success with the tool is ultimately dependent on how much time and effort teachers are willing to invest in creating in the platform.
Bottom Line
While it has some limits, this engaging, useful presentation platform is a great option for formative assessment in 1-to-1 or BYOD classrooms.
Amy Cox
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Students will enjoy in-class slideshow lectures as they move beyond passive note-taking to drawing and manipulating dots. However, these activities are likely to be the most engaging when using tablets.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Slideshows peppered with interactive assessments can support students' understanding and retention. A feature to give students choice in how they respond could help differentiate and 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? 4

Though it's straightforward and easy to use, the tool doesn't automatically show students the correct answers or explanations. However, this can create opportunities for whole-class discussion and activities that promote reflection.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

First and foremost, keep in mind that you'll need to set aside time to put your Pear Deck presentations together. If you plan on uploading a PowerPoint presentation, be aware that each slide will be converted into an image, meaning you won't be able to edit any further once they're uploaded. Keep this in mind as you plan your preparation time. But know that the payoff in your students' engagement will most likely be worth it.

As you create your presentations, keep your lesson's purpose in mind. As you teach new concepts, be sure to balance the ratio of questions to informational slides, and have students take notes throughout, either digitally or on paper. For review lessons, it's fine to lean more heavily on questionsRegardless of purpose, mix up the question types you're using to keep things lively and fresh. Your students' responses should help you differentiate future lessons to target areas for growth.


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What's It Like?

Pear Deck is a simple presentation tool designed to enhance student learning during a slideshow. Ideally, each student in the class should have their own device, and the fact that Pear Deck works on all platforms (including Chrome) makes it a great fit for a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) setting. Students use their devices to follow along with the teacher's slideshow on a classroom screen. Throughout, teachers can pause at points where they've added questions -- a variety of question types are available. Teachers can view students' responses to these questions immediately, as well as post the results on-screen for all students to see.

On the setup side of things, 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 -- there's a built-in Google search tool to use when adding images and videos into slides. What's more, Pear Deck will helpfully cite any images inserted using this tool!

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Is It Good For Learning?

Pear Deck's simple, clean interface makes it very easy to use, which is a big plus. Of course, this comes with a downside -- there are very few formatting options. This can feel restrictive to teachers who are used to PowerPoint, or those who might simply want to add two images on one slide. To get the most out of Pear Deck, teachers need to take time in setting up the interactive elements. This interactivity is a huge factor in the tool's ability to increase students' engagement and understanding.

Students will especially love answering the drawing questions. The ability to doodle out their answers can benefit kids with a variety of learning backgrounds, particularly ELL and special ed students. However, keep in mind that this feature is bound to work best when kids are using tablets. Also, for all questions, teachers select the format as they create each slide; it would be even better if the tool allowed students to somehow choose an answer format to best support their own learning. Also, once students respond, they're likely to look to the teacher for immediate feedback, which could present challenges depending on the question type. While Pear Deck's feedback for teachers is great, keep in mind that there isn't any automatic feedback for students. Nevertheless, this can be a great opportunity for teachers to better explain answers to the class, and discuss related topics in more depth.

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