Technology in the Latin Classroom

Getting Started with Pear Deck

Pear Deck is one of my favorite technology tools right now. I have presented about it multiple times to other teachers (see my CV page and scroll to Professional Presentations), and, if I can brag a little about myself, I am one of the “go-to” people at work for tips on how to use and troubleshoot the site.

If you’ve been hearing about Pear Deck but don’t really know what it is, this post is for you! If you’re already using Pear Deck and would like some ideas about how to take it to the next level, the next post will be for you. 🙂

  • What is Pear Deck?
    • I explain it this way: Pear Deck is a web-based tool that allows you to make presentations (or almost any other file) interactive. Now, if you’re thinking…
      • “This sure does sound like a way to put lipstick on a pig (i.e. dress up a lecture)”: First of all, I think there is a time and place for a good lecture (a good lecture), even one with limited audience interaction. And if you are looking for a way to get audience interaction with a lecture, Pear Deck can definitely help you do that. But Pear Deck is not just for lecturing, so please stay with me here!
      • “Another piece of technology to learn? Great…”: Pear Deck is simple to use. If you have pre-made PowerPoints or Google Slides presentations, you have done 95% of the work.
    • Before you read further, please know that I have the premium version of Pear Deck, and almost everything I am referring to involves using the premium version. The good news: there’s a 30-day free trial of the premium version, so you can try it out without the commitment.
  • Interactive… how, exactly?
    • Pear Deck lets you take a slide in a Google Slide presentation and make it so that students can respond to it in one of 5 ways:
      • Text: students respond by typing their answer. When you project their answers, students see everyone’s responses.
      • Choice: students respond by choosing one multiple-choice answer. When you project their answers, students see how many people chose each choice.
      • Number: students respond by typing a number. I’ve actually never had occasion to use the “number” response, but I’m guessing when you project it, it works like the “text” responses (projects everyone’s).
      • Draw: students respond by drawing on the slide. This works even if they are using a laptop and not a tablet – it’s kind of like using MS Paint. When you project their answers, students see everyone’s drawings.
      • Draggable: students respond by dragging any number of icons you choose around the slide. When you project their answers, students see everyone’s icons overlaid on top of one another, which makes this really useful for having discussions or doing anticipation guide-style activities. Here’s an example of something I did with my Latin II CP class (I stole the presentation from Keith Toda):mavis habitare .png
  • Why would I want to start using it in my classroom?
    • Here are my two selling points when I present about Pear Deck: 1) you can project all students’ answers at the same time and 2) those answers stay anonymous when presented to the whole class. 
    • Here are three of my students’ answers about why they like Pear Deck:Pear Deck for Archdiocesan In-Service February 16 2018.pngPear Deck for Archdiocesan In-Service February 16 2018 (1).pngPear Deck for Archdiocesan In-Service February 16 2018 (2).png
  • Okay, so what does it look like? Can you walk me through a presentation? 
    • Well… I did just record a 20-minute screencast walking you through a presentation, but Screencastify is so frustrating sometimes. The audio ended up being distorted, but if you want to suffer through the choppiness, here’s the link. So I will hopefully record another version of it at some point, but in the meantime, here is a Google Slides presentation I made for a story from CLC Unit 1 using Pear Deck. This shows you the kinds of questions I ask using Pear Deck.
  • How do I make one?
    • See my tutorials page for a very short tutorial on how to use the add-on for Google Slides. This is how I (personally) think that everyone should be using Pear Deck, as opposed to the standalone Pear Deck website/presentation creator. The add-on is incredibly easy to use and works with existing Google Slides presentations – you can also upload PowerPoints to Google Drive so you can use the add-on with those files, too.

That’s about it for starting out. Let me know what questions you have!

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