In this Pear Deck tutorial, I’ll show you how to install the app and create your first interactive slide show. Then, learn how to present your lesson and see what your students will see.

Pear Deck is an add-on for Google Slides and PowerPoint. It allows you to add interactive elements to your slide presentations. Your slides are pushed out to your students as you step through your lesson. While presenting in Pear Deck, students are asked questions. Or, you can gather feedback with features such as drawing or draggable sliders.

Pear Deck Tutorial

Pear Deck Video Tutorial

Using Pear Deck for Remote Learning

Pear Deck is an engaging tool in your distance learning toolbox. Launch your Pear Deck session and share with your students learning over Google Meet or Zoom. At the same time, your any in-person students can follow along from their own devices or by watching your projector screen.

Is Pear Deck Free?

Yes…but also no. Like many software products, Pear Deck has freemium offerings. This mean you can use many of the Pear Deck features without paying. However, software developers need to eat too. So, many of their advanced features are part of the annual subscription. Have a look at the Pear Deck pricing page for more details. If you are a technology leader or district administrator, I suggest including Pear Deck as part of your annual budget. This is a powerful tool for your teachers.

How to install Pear Deck

Pear Deck is not a Chrome extension. It is an Add-on for Google Slides. You find the Pear Deck add-on from the Google Marketplace. Your school district tech people can also push this out to everyone.

After you install Pear Deck, you will find it in the Add-ons menu. You will also find the Pear Deck button added to your menu. It’s hard to miss. Use either of these to launch the Pear Deck window.

Pear Deck will ask for permission to access your Google account. This is typical with any application that integrates with Google.

Pear Deck Sidebar

The Pear Deck Sidebar is where you find the tools to add interactive questions to your slides. You open the panel from the menu by clicking Add-on > Pear Deck for Google Slides > Open Pear Deck Add-on. The panel opens on the right side of your screen.

You will find a link to the template library from the sidebar.  These templates are slides curated by teachers. They are organized by grade level and content type.

The Pear Deck sidebar also has the Start Lessons button. Make sure you launch your session using this button instead of the normal Google Slide present button.

Creating Your First Slide Deck

Let’s start with a simple slide show to understand how Pear Deck works. Include questions throughout on your slide as you normally would. For the first example, we will add a multiple choice field. Students will see your slide with a multiple-choice question.

From the Pear Deck window, select Choice. Pear deck shows you a preview of how this will appear on student and projector screens. The idea is the display board in your classroom will show results while students are prompted with a question. Click next to continue.

Here you add your choices to the question. Add a few options for students to select from. After adding your questions, click the update slide button. Pear Deck will add an overlay bar along the bottom of your slide. You will also notice text added to the speaker notes below. You want to ignore these. This controls how Pear Deck displays and interacts with your students.

Pear Deck Dashboard

Now let’s launch our Pear Deck session. Do this by clicking the green Start Lesson button. Make sure to use the green Pear Deck button instead of the regular Present button. This will create a new Pear Deck session.

Pear Deck shows your slides on your main projector screen. You will also have a second pop-up screen. The pop-up screen is your Pear Deck Dashboard. The dashboard is for the teacher’s eyes only because the student responses are not anonymous. You will want to minimize this window or drag it to a second screen.

Pear Deck Sessions vs Slides

Let’s talk about how sessions differ from slides. Your slides are materials you show your students. A session is like an event. It is a time when you present materials to your students. Suppose you teach English 1st hour and 3rd hour. You may show the same slide deck to both classes. But, you will start a separate session for each hour. By clicking the start lesson button you are starting a new Pear Deck session. Each session may have different students participating.

Can Pear Deck Sessions be Student Paced

Yes! Create your session and allow your students to consume your lesson at their own speed. Students join the lesson by visiting a link created by Pear Deck. Or, you can post the lesson to Google Classroom as an assignment, announcement, or material. This is an excellent way to allow your students to work asynchronously.

How do students join a Pear Deck session

Students have a couple of ways to join your Pear Deck session.

  • First, they can visit joinpd.com and enter a code to join. This is typical for student physically in class with you working on Chromebooks.
  • You can also share a link with students. You can click on Give Students a link to copy the address to your clipboard. Then, post to Google Classroom, email, or share over the Google Meet chat window.
Pear Deck Video Tutorial

Pear Deck Student Perspective

When a student joins your session, Pear Deck starts with a wellness check. You can disable this opening question from the settings menu. The student wellness answers are visible during the Pear Deck session. This gives your students a chance to privately communicate how they are doing without drawing attention to themselves.

The projector view is what you show on the big screen in your class. (Or, your Google Meet or Zoom screen.) This is your main display view for your students.

On the student’s device, Pear Deck shows your slide with the question prompt. Students answer your question on their device. Back on the projector screen, you see how many students have responded. You can show or hide responses on the projector board. On the projector board, student responses are anonymous.

The lock screens feature freezes students’ screens and closes the current question. The student screen shows the responses are locked for this question. You can also set a timer for a question. Students see the timer on their screen and the screen locks after the time expires.

How to End a Pear Deck Session

You can end the session by clicking END on the projector screen. You can give the session an optional name. Give this a name that will help you identify it later. Pear Deck saves your prior sessions for up to 30 days.

You don’t have to close a Pear Deck session. Your lesson could be taught in the first few slides. Then, you could leave the session open to allow students to continue at their own pace. The session could be closed at a later time.

Publish Pear Deck Takeaways

Pear Deck will create a Google doc for each student. The doc will contain all your slides. Students will also have their own answers for further reflection. It will not include answers from other students.

Pear Deck Types of Responses

Multiple Choice

Add your question to your slide. Then, add the multiple-choice question from the Pear Deck panel. Include the answers for your students to choose from. Students can select from your answers and you can share the responses with the class. Student names are not included on the projector screen. But, you can see student answers from the pop-up dashboard window.

Open-ended Responses

The text question allows you to add an open-ended question to your interactive slide show. Put a writing prompt on the slide. Then, add the text question from the Pear Deck panel. You will see a preview showing how the question will look on the student device and your projector screen. Click the blue Update slide button to continue. Pear Deck will add a footer along the bottom of the slide.

From the student perspective, they will see your slide and have a place to add their own answer. You can show student answers on the projector screen by using the Show Responses button.

Draggable Responses

I found this wellness check graphic in the Pear Deck template library. The library is absolutely worth exploring. You’ll find a ton of ideas curated by Pear Deck and some amazing teachers. In this example, students will drop a dot to show how they are doing.

While on this slide, click the draggable question in the panel. Select the item from the drop-down you want to add. Your slide can include shapes, symbols, numbers, or icons. Change the colors with the color picker.

You can include multiple items to your draggable slide. Students will see your slide with the draggable items on the screen. This specific example is personal and has sensitive information. So, it’s a great time to use the pop-up presentation screen that is opened when you launch your session. That way the answers will stay anonymous.

Number Response

The number response is similar to the open-ended response. In this case, the student will need to answer with a number. The prompt will not accept a text answer.

From the pop-up screen, you can see answers along a number line. Or, by changing the view you can more easily see who gave what answer.

Drawing Response

When you choose a template, it will insert a new slide. In this case, let’s insert a Graph. That way we can explore the drawing tool. While viewing the graph slide, click the drawing tool. Then, click Update slide to continue. You can change the text element to customize your question or instructions.

While using the graphing tool student can draw on their screen. This may be tricky with a mouse or trackpad. But, if the students can draw a straight line while holding the shift key as they draw.

The pop-out screen shows student answers overlapped to give you a general check on student understanding. Or, you can switch to the grid layout to see individual responses.

Graph Template

Pear Deck Template Library

Pear Deck users submit slides to the template library. The templates are well organized. You can find an opening and ending slides. The social-emotional section has a lot to offer. Templates are organized by subject area and grade level.

These templates are added to the library by teachers. So, you can suggest your slides to Pear Deck for others to use.

Add a New Slide During Your Presentation

You may want to add a new slide to the deck during the presentation. You can do this quickly by pulling a Pear Deck template into your slides. From the pop-out screen, you will find a New Prompt button. Pear Deck will offer a few helpful suggestions. In this case, I’ll add a slide for student reflection. This is a drawing slide. But, students can also add a text box to type their responses.

Add New Prompt

View Past Pear Deck Sessions

Pear Deck saves your past sessions for later review. From the Pear Deck panel, click the triple line menu icon. Then, select Review Sessions. Your sessions are saved for thirty days.

The dashboard view shows your slides along with student responses. Remember old sessions are available for 30 days.

Can Pear Deck Grade Automatically?

By itself, Pear Deck doesn’t grade your questions. But, you can use an add-on called Flubaroo.

Can Pear Deck Work with SeeSaw?

Yep! SeeSaw and Pear Deck don’t communicate directly. But, you can post a Pear Deck link to a SeeSaw class as an announcement or activity. Use teacher-paced mode if you are running the lesson in real-time. Or, you can allow students to work at their own speed in student-paced mode. Either way, you will find their answers in the teacher dashboard in Pear Deck.

Can Pear Deck Work with Canvas?

Yes! Your Canvas admin may need to install a Pear Deck tool. You will add an assignment in canvas and select External Tool under the submission type. Click Find to select the Pear Deck tool. The Pear Deck tool will load your slide show from your Google Drive. You can find more details including step-by-step instructions on the Pear Deck help page.

Can Pear Deck Work with Power Point?

I’ve seen web versions of PowerPoint enhanced with Pear Deck. This video tutorial by TWOtorials for Teachers shows an example of Pear Deck working with PowerPoint. It works much the same as a Google Side lesson.

Conclusion

Try it out for yourself. Install Pear Deck for free and create a simple slide with a couple of questions. Ask another teacher to act as a student in your Pear Deck session. The best way to learn Pear Deck is by doing. Take one of your existing slide shows and upgrade it with an interactive question.

I would love to hear what you think of Pear Deck. Reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook. Or, leave a comment or question on YouTube. Share this page with a friend if you think this article was helpful.

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