Website review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2021

Pear Deck

Interactive slideshows offer a variety of ways to engage and assess

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 14 reviews
Privacy rating
84%| Pass Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
3–12
Subjects & Skills
Communication & Collaboration, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Teachers can modify their existing presentations. Collects a variety of on-the-spot, useful data for instruction.

Cons: Getting the hang of creating effective presentations takes time. Some activities (like drawing) can be tricky from phones.

Bottom Line: This is an appealing platform that can really ramp up engagement around formative assessment.

The best place to start would be to use the Pear Deck add-on to convert existing PowerPoint or Google Slides presentations to Pear Deck lessons. It's some work up front, but the payoff in student engagement is worth it. Add in a Pear Deck question slide or template to review a concept from a previous lesson, gather student questions or feedback about last night's homework, or introduce today's lesson with a question or problem. During a lesson, pepper in multiple-choice, true/false, and thumbs-up/-down questions, and quickly gauge whether or not you need to reteach a concept. These check-ins can also be used as discussion starters when talking about daily routines, current events, or reactions to class content. At the close of a lesson, see how well your students understood the content with an exit ticket. You can use any type of slide for these, but short-answer or number slides are good open-ended ways to assess understanding. 

As you teach new concepts, be sure to balance the ratio of questions to informational slides. For review lessons, it's OK to lean on objective questions, but students will be more drawn in by the creative components. Premium features, such as draggable responses and drawing slides, are excellent for elementary students and account for a variety of learning preferences. Use the Flashcard Factory feature to get students working in tandem to create a set of classroom flash cards for export to Gimkit. Regardless of the purpose, mix up the question types you're using to keep your lessons lively and fresh. Teachers should also take advantage of built-in and add-on accessibility features in order to provide differentiation and to benefit students with a variety of backgrounds and learning preferences. 

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Pear Deck is an interactive presentation and lesson delivery tool that can be used via the web or as an add-on or integration with a variety of other programs. Students join teachers' Pear Deck sessions with codes and then use their devices to follow along with the teacher's slideshow on a classroom screen. Additionally, through a paid Premium plan, students 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, either one at a time or in a grid view, as well as share the results anonymously on-screen for all students to see.  Additional features allow students to review and respond to daily news articles, create flash cards with drawings, play games, and practice responsible digital citizenship. Depending on whether they have a free or paid account, teachers also have handy controls over the student experience. For instance, teachers can lock presentations from student contribution, project student answers, 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. Options to add audio, enable immersive reader (beta), or add closed captioning to presentations make it possible to teach students with different learning needs and preferences. Pear Deck has made this process somewhat easier for teachers, not only with a huge repository of ideas but also through integrations with Merriam-Webster,  Newsela, and Gimkit

Pear Deck is a powerhouse for formative assessment. 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 their lessons, teachers need to take time setting up the interactive elements. While it's time consuming, especially at first, this interactivity is key to increasing participants' engagement and understanding. Students at any age will appreciate the draggable responses and drawing questions. (Note, though, that some of these response types can be tricky or frustrating on phones' cramped screens.)

Students' responses can help teachers differentiate future lessons to target areas for growth. 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. 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 enable Takeaways, a Google doc that includes all of the slides and student answers, to further extend the learning by leaving comments for students to read and respond to. Too often, tools designed for classroom use fail to offer creative ways for students to show what they know, but Pear Deck is designed with all different kinds of learners in mind.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Students will like when slideshows get them drawing, writing, and responding to teacher-created prompts and polls. The integration of Flashcard Factory with Gimkit is a bonus.

Pedagogy

Slideshows peppered with interactive assessments can support students' understanding and retention. Teachers can leave feedback on students' responses or share them with the class for further discussion.

Support

Help articles, training decks, tutorials, and a content library provide guided support. Features such as adding audio, allowing students to draw on slides, and adding closed captioning support learner preferences and needs.


Common Sense reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Instructional Technology Facilitator

Community Rating

(See all 14 reviews) (14 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Alex R. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
A great way for students to work while in online classes
I like Peardeck a lot. It is easy to use and implement. It's a very simple add-on to google slides and gives me all the tools I would like. Peardeck itself is a great way to get students to interact with the power points you make yourself. It has helped me rethink how I make power points and how I like to use them in the classroom.
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Users can interact with trusted users and/or students.
Users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
Profile information is shared for social interactions.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Users can create or upload content.
Users retain ownership of their data.
Processes to access and review user data are available.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Traditional or contextual advertisements are displayed.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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