Pear Deck Potential

Today, day 3 of the MAET program, our class was charged with researching a tech tool that sounded interesting to us and then presenting that tech tool through a “speed dating” style activity.

Tech tools Speed dating

Speed Dating. Photo credit: Chris Sloan

The tool I selected to represent during speed dating, was Pear Deck – sounds interesting, right?  It was to me, even though I discovered this tool requires quite a purchase if you wish to unlock all of its potential.

For $99 a year, a single teacher may utilize all the technology of the Pear Deck program – the cost increases for cohorts of teachers or entire schools.  It does, however, have a free trial that I would highly recommend!

Pear Deck, as described by their homepage, was “founded by educators on a mission to improve teachers’ lives by making rich, active teaching easy.”  At first glance, this sounds great, but it still didn’t quite tell me what Pear Deck is all about.  Fortunately, the creators at Pear Deck must have known the audience would have many questions and included this interactive video that gives a better idea of the capabilities of this program.

Take a look:

As the video shows, Pear Deck is – at its core – an interactive presentation tool.  From what I have found, Pear Deck allows the user to disseminate their slides (known as a deck) to their audience and track their engagement as the presentation progresses.  Pear Deck allows for the presenter to check for understanding (using popular formative assessment tools), ask questions, and engage with audience feedback.

Pear Deck – according to their website – works seamlessly with Google Drive, great news for all Google Classroom teachers.  Because Pear Deck does work in cooperation with Google Drive, add ons – like Flubaroo – also work with this program.  If you ask your audience 8 questions throughout your deck, you can use this add on to grade those questions instantly and send out feedback or results via email.

One thing I really like about the Pear Deck website, is the amount of resources the Pear Deck team has put together for its users.  The website has many forums and FAQ’s that address the “cool stuff Pear Deck can do” along with issues users may have.  It is nice to know that if you purchase this product, there are many resources available (that are very easy to navigate) to help you make the most of the product.

Though I cannot speak as to how the development of the deck works (I have not yet started my free trial), overall this program looks like it has a lot of potential and resources to transform the way content is presented to an audience.  This would be a great tool for teachers to use in a 1:1 classroom at any age or grade level.

Note: after telling my classmates about this tool during our speed dating exercise, one pair of students used Pear Deck to deliver a presentation to the class.  As an audience member, I loved the Pear Deck because I could follow along on my own screen, answer questions and then see them anonymously on the board.  It also seemed that the presenters found a Pear Deck to be user friendly in creating and presenting their content.

One thing the presenters did note, is that Pear Deck forces the creator to be concise.  If you type too much on the Pear Deck slides, not all of it will appear for your audience.  The other constraint they mentioned is that Pear Deck does not allow you to do sub levels when using bulleted information.  They speculate that maybe the paid version will allow some of these constraints to be possible, but we are still unsure.

Overall Pear Deck was a great tool for this pair’s particular presentation, and I look forward to trying it out with my students in the future.

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