Pear Deck is a tool that allows you to turn your presentations and lessons into interactive learning materials. The way Pear Deck works is simple and easy: First, make sure you install Pear Deck add-on in your Google Drive or your OneDrive. Next open your Slides or PowerPoint presentation and add Pear Deck’s interactive features. 

You can add a number of question types including multiple choice, open-ended, Draggables, and more. You can also use Pear Deck’s pre-made templates to  design interactive presentations. Once your presentation is ready, you can present it to the whole class. Students can join the session from any device with a web browser using a unique access code. Or, you can assign it as homework assignment for students to work on at their own pace.  

Using instructor-paced mode, teachers can control each deck from their computer, monitor students progress and provide timely feedback. Teachers can also select specific students responses to share with the whole class or show answers of the whole class. Students answers are anonymous only teachers can access identifiable information. Teachers can also lock students screen and  prevent them from editing their answers.

All Pear Deck presentations and materials are saved in a folder in Google Drive. Teachers can use Drive sharing options to share these materials with students, parents, and colleagues.

The purpose of this post is to introduce you to Pear Deck and familiarize you with some of its main features. More specifically, the post covers the following points:
What does Pear Deck do?Ways to use Pear Deck in the ClassroomHow to add Pear Deck to Google Slides?How to create a Pear Deck Lesson or Presentation?How to add pre-made Slide templates to your presentationHow to manage students responsesInstructor-paced mode versus student-paced mode?Add questions to your Pear Deck lessons/presentationsA- Pear Deck Teacher feedbackB- Give students feedback using TakeawaysGrading students responsesIs Pear Deck free?Pear Deck Video tutorials 

What does Pear Deck do?

Pear Deck basically adds interactive features to your presentations and lessons making them more engaging and learning-friendly.  You can either design your interactive presentation from scratch or use an existing presentation in Google Slides or PowerPoint. Alternatively, you can access Pear Deck library and search for ready-made templates to use in your presentations. 

Ways to use Pear Deck in the Classroom
Here are some helpful suggestions on how to use Pear Deck in your class:

Create interactive lessons and presentations to engage students in learning. Use Pear Deck to conduct formative assessments in your class. Create presentations that embed specific questions to test students comprehension and use teacher dashboard to view students responses in real time. Similar tools to use for formative assessment include: Quizalize, Kahoot, Quizlet, Goformative, Blooket, and Quizizz.Empower students voice by allowing them to share feedback (anonymously if you want) and encourage them to take ownership of their learning.Ask students to work in groups or individually to create interactive presentations to share with the whole class.Create interactive presentations to use in various educational activities in class including bell ringers, reflections, and exit tickets.Provide shy students and those who are afraid or embarrassed to ask questions in front of their peers with a venue to speak, share, and be engaged.Pear Deck supports multiple learning styles. Students can type, draw, or provide numeric responses and feedback.Students use Flashcard Factory game to create vocabulary lists to review and enhance their vocabulary learning.

How to add Pear Deck to Google Slides?

There are two ways to add Pear Deck add-on to Google Slides: The first way is you go to Pear Deck, click on Create presentation and follow the on-screen instructions . The second way (for Slides) is to:

Open a presentation in Google SlidesClick on Add-onsSelect get add-onSearch for Pear Deck and click to install it.

How to create a Pear Deck Lesson or Presentation?

Pear Deck lessons and presentations are all created within Google Slides or PowerPoint online. You need to install Pear Deck add-on/add-in in order to create your presentations. If you have not already installed it, you will be prompted to install it when you start creating presentations. 

You can either design your presentation from scratch or use an existing Slides or PowerPoint presentation. Here is how to get started creating Pear Deck presentations/lessons:

Log into Pear DeckClick on Create a PresentationsIn Google Slides, click on Add-ons and select Open Pear Deck Add-onUse the Pear Deck Sidebar to add questions , audio, or pre-made templates

How to add pre-made Slide templates to your presentation

Pear Deck has this incredible library of free pre-made templates that you can use to create your lessons and presentations. You can edit templates the way you want. For instance, you can change background images, text, question types, etc. 

Pear Deck offers  several template types including:

Beginning of lesson: Use these templates to introduce lessons and they include ‘easy-to-use warm-up, temperature check, and reflection slides’.During lesson: “Slides in this section could be used to prompt additional thought, discussion, or deeper engagement. Slide types include true/false, checks for understanding, summary, diagrams, maps, graphs, and more. These flexible slide types can be customized to an unlimited array of subjects.”End of lesson: Use these slides in activities that ‘wrap ip class with opportunities for reflection and exit tickets’.

How to manage students responses

As a teacher, you are able to display students answers anonymously on the projector screen. In this way they get to see and compare their answers. Also, those who are struggling with questions will realize that they are not the only ones having problems. 

As answers are displayed on the screen, students might be prompted to change their answers thus causing distraction in class. To prevent this, you need to time lock answers by clicking on the lock responses button. Click the button once more to unlock responses.

Pear Deck’s premium version offers more tools to help you manage students responses. These include the ability to filter students answers before they show up on the screen, star answers to show samples on the screen, hide inappropriate answers, and even block disruptive students.

Instructor-paced mode versus student-paced mode?

This mode is ideal for synchronous teaching. It allows you to connect with your students in real-time.. Student-paced mode allows students to go through a Pear Deck lesson/presentation at their own pace. They get to control the movement of the slides. 

From the Teacher dashboard, you get to view students work. Simply hover over the thumbnail to see who is on each slide and who is lagging behind. As you go through students responses you can star those you want to discuss with the whole group. To assign the rest of the Pear Deck questions as homework, simply leave the session open by clicking on Leave session. Student paced mode is especially ideal to use in flipped learning sessions, remote learning, to differentiate or scaffold teaching, and more.

Add questions to your Pear Deck lessons/presentations

Make your lessons/presentations interactive by adding various forms of questions. These include: 
Text-based questions: Students textual responses to your prompt.Multiple choice questions: Students pick the right answersNumber: Students provide numeric responsesWebsite: Students view and interact with a website embedded on their deviceDraw: Students draw an image or text on their device in response to your promptDraggable: they can be in the form of agree/disagree or thumbs up/down.

Two ways to provide teacher feedback to students:
There are two ways to provide teacher feedback: the first one is through Pear Deck teacher feedback and the second through Takeaways:

A- Pear Deck Teacher feedback

“Pear Deck Teacher Feedback has been launched in beta! This tool allows you to leave comments for students next to any type of response (Drawing, Draggable, Text, Number, and Multiple Choice) via the Dashboard. Students instantly receive their own feedback on the Student View. Teacher Feedback, along with the Dashboard, is a Premium feature available to those who sign into Pear Deck with Google and Microsoft Office 365.”

B- Give students feedback using Takeaways

Pear Deck Takeaways (premium feature) allows you to give students personalized feedback regarding their performance. Takeaways are individualized and editable Google Docs that contain the Slides from presented Session, students’ responses, and spaces to leave comments and notes. 

Each time you publish a Takeaway, students receive a link to their Takeaway. They won’t be able to see the takeaways of their peers. Students can access a copy of their Takeaway in the Share with me section of their Google Drive.

When they open their Takeways, students will see their responses and the accompanying slides. As a teacher, you have full control over ownership and editing rights of Takeaways. You can also share students takeaways with parents and/or co-teachers through Google Drive. 

“Each time you publish Takeaways you get a blank responses copy, which is stored in the Google Drive folder with the rest of the Takeaways in the Session. You can share it to a student who missed class so they can work through the lesson.” Check this page for a full step by step tutorial on how to use Takeaways in your teaching.

image credit: Pear Deck

Grading students responses

One way to make grading students responses on Pear Deck easy is to export them to a Google Sheet. This requires that you log in to Pear Deck using your Google account. If you want to see students names in your Spreadsheet you need to  require email login before you present. 

The process to export students responses is simple: after you end a session open the More Actions menu and click on Export to Spreadsheet. All spreadsheet exports are saved in the Exports folder located in the Pear Deck folder in your Google Drive.

Is Pear Deck free?

Pear Deck is a freemium service. It offers both basic and premium subscriptions. The premium plan has the added features: add draggable and drawing responses, immersive reader, add audio to Slides, supports remote and asynchronous work with student paced mode, keep students in sync with locks and timers, share student progress and feedback, and many more. 

Pear Deck Video tutorials

More sources:

Pear Deck for educators (San Lorenzo Unified School District)