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Three side-by-side images show a woman using a cellphone, hands on a laptop, and a student working on his computer for an online class.

Using Pear Deck in Teacher Preparation Programs

Author: Samantha Goldman

Pear Deck is a great tool to use in teacher education programs because it allows for modeling of interactive lessons that are designed to be used in the traditional, brick-and-mortar setting, remote, blended, or virtual settings. As an add-on to Google Slides or the online version of Microsoft Powerpoint, Pear Deck works with lessons you have already created and adds a layer of interactivity to them. In the traditional setting, students can interact with presentations by raising their hand, writing on the whiteboard, or using movement. In the online world, however, you can’t use those tools in the same way. Regardless, interactivity is just as important.

According to a recent study, Pear Deck has several advantages including real-time response, which allows facilitators to view students’ responses as they come in and allows teachers to give individualized and immediate feedback. Another advantage to Pear Deck is that instructors can provide presentations in real-time, supporting synchronous sessions either in person or remote as well as  allow for student-paced learning, adding interactivity and engagement to content provided in asynchronous sessions. In this blog and accompanying YouTube video, we are going to explore how to use Pear Deck in teacher education programs to make your instruction more interactive.

Self-assessment for social-emotional well-being

In our January CIDDL/CEEDAR Affinity Group – Preparing Teacher Candidates for Online/ Hybrid Instruction meeting, Dr. Sean Smith and Dr. Maya Israel used Pear Deck as a way for participants to share how they were feeling. Each member logged onto Pear Deck from their own device and moved the icon to the cat that best matched their feelings. There are several resources, like this mood scale board or these how are you feeling slides that can be used as a self-assessment tool for Pear Deck.

A screenshot shows various pictures of cats next to text.

What’s great about this activity is that it allows students to anonymously share their feelings in a novel way. This isn’t the traditional “how are you feeling” chart you might find in a doctor’s or therapist’s office. The humor embedded in the images makes it a less scary question for many students.

Furthering the conversation

After you provide time for your students to select their favorite meme, allow some to share out why they choice the specific image that they chose. It is so interesting how every student will find a different reason to relate to the image and their perspectives. Pear Deck can be used to design learning activities that align to Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which is a framework guiding instructional design for students with diverse learning needs.  To create a more UDL friendly environment, you can give students the option of sharing out verbally, typing it to everyone in the chat, or sending a private message just to the instructor. You can also use a variety of other tools in Pear Deck to gather more feedback from them about how they are feeling.

More than just a tool for social-emotional assessment

Pear Deck has so many uses to promote interactivity in presentations beyond check-in activities. You can use it to type or draw reflections on assignments, provide a poll to respond to a prompt, or use it to model how you would provide independent practice for solving word problems. Pear Deck is an incredible tool with so many uses. We’ve outlined a few options but are curious how you would or how you have used Pear Deck in your pre-service teacher classes. We’d love to hear from you. Continue the conversation in our CIDDL Community and share your ideas and communicate with fellow teacher educators.