Hello everyone – reporting to you from TCEA 2018 in Austin, Texas! My partner in crime, Angelique Lackey, and I arrived yesterday just in time to attend a session on Pear Deck in the morning. JP Hale was the presenter, and he did a great job showing us the multiple uses of this tool as well as how to get started with it. After we saw his presentation, we decided that it would behoove us to try Pear Deck out on our own presentation – which were giving at 2 yesterday afternoon.
Well, I say “we” decided, but Angelique tweeted this:
The good news is that everything went smoothly and the only regret that I had afterward was that we hadn’t added even more interactive options to our presentation.
What is Pear Deck? It’s a tool that you can use to invite audience participation as you present. Anyone with a device and your join code can interact by drawing, adding text, moving icons, etc… (Some of these options are only included in the Premium version. Two download a trial copy of the Premium version that will last you the rest of this school year, go here.) Pear Deck has template slides that you can use, but the great thing is that you don’t have to create your presentation on the Pear Deck platform. You can import Powerpoint, Slides, and PDF’s into Pear Deck, or you can do what we did- use the Pear Deck Add-On in Slides.
If you have a Google Slides presentation all ready to go, you can just go to “Add-Ons” in the top menu and choose to Get Add-Ons. This will take you to a site where you can search for and download the free Pear Deck Add-On. Once it is installed, you can access it through the Add-Ons menu to open a side bar as you work on your presentation. The side bar gives you buttons to quickly add interactivity anywhere you like in your slides.
As you can see in the image below, we added a Pear Deck feature to the slide that would allow participants to drag an icon to any part of the slide. During our presentation, we could ask the audience what the hardest part of teaching Design Thinking might be, or what they thought the students would enjoy the most. We could get instant feedback from over 60 people as each of their icons appeared on our slide. (This picture shows how things looked as we prepared the presentation, not as we gathered responses.)
Once you are ready to present, you can choose to “Present with Pear Deck.” Pear Deck will take a moment to process everything, and then provide a slide that prompts the audience to go to joinpd.com and enter the special code to participate.
One thing that I should note is that any special animations or transitions that you may have added in Slides will not transfer when you Present with Pear Deck. However, that was not a crucial issue for us.
The Pear Deck creator can choose to make the presentation student-paced, allowing everyone to move through slides on their own, or only allow the audience to see on their devices what you have on the screen. As you project, you can also decide if you want to show the responses on the screen in real-time by toggling an icon on the bottom right of your screen. Responses are anonymous, but the teacher can access the names through a teacher dashboard.
We had great fun during a brainstorming activity in our presentation as we scrolled through drawings and text responses. Pear Deck was also an excellent way to give the audience a chance to ask specific questions anonymously at the end so we could respond immediately.
When you are finished presenting, Pear Deck gives you the option to send the entire presentation and responses as a Google Doc to all participants. This is not only great in situations like ours, but could be wonderful for test reviews in the classroom.
If you want more specifics on Pear Deck, I highly recommend this article by Eric Curts of Control Alt Achieve. You can learn more about the 21 Pear Deck templates included in the Google Slides Add–On in this post.
Thanks to JP Hale for introducing us to this great tool, and to our patient audience as we tested it out!