What is Pear Deck and How Does It Work? Tips and Tricks

Pear Deck
(Image credit: Pear Deck)

Pear Deck takes slide-based presentations to a new level of interactivity and engagement by letting students join in.

The idea is to offer a digital tool that teachers can use to create and present material to the class on the big screen. But students can follow along on their personal devices, and interact when invited to, all helping to make the presentation far more immersive for the class.

To be clear, this is an add-on that works in Google Slides, making it widely accessible across devices and easy to integrate with current Google Classroom setups.

This tool also works for formative assessments throughout the class, allowing students to show how they're understanding the material and teachers to better pace the lesson to include all levels of ability at the right speed.

This is free to use as a Google-based service, however, there is a premium account also available with extra options -- more on that below.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about Pear Deck.

What is Pear Deck?

Pear Deck is a Google Slides add-on designed to help teachers create engaging slide show-style content for the classroom and for remote learning. Since this is Google-integrated, it allows teachers to create or edit presentations right there from within their own Google account.

The idea is to combine slide presentations with interactive questions to help advance inquiry-based learning. This allows students to work independently both in the classroom as well as remotely.

Pear Deck

(Image credit: Pear Deck)

Pear Deck allows teachers to see the deck live so they can see who is participating at that moment. Student responses appear on the teacher's screen in real time, even if working remotely.

Teachers can create, share, and present their Pear Deck presentations directly from a laptop or tablet easily. There are apps but user reviews are not great as there are some usability issues – so it's often easier to use this via a web browser.

How does Pear Deck work?

Pear Deck allows teachers to create slide show-style presentations using their Google Slides account. This can be done from scratch, however, there is a huge selection of templates to work with, making the process easy.

While building, teachers can pick from four question types: 

  • Draggable questions with agree/disagree or thumbs up/down.
  • Drawing questions with a free space or grid for students to draw in.
  • Free response questions with short text, long text, or number capabilities.
  • Multiple choice questions with response of yes/no, true/false, or A,B,C,D.

Pear Deck

(Image credit: Pear Deck)

Once a project is created, teachers are given a short code that can be sent to students, easily done within Google Classroom or via other means. The student goes to the Pear Deck website and can input the code to be taken to the presentation.

Student responses appear on the teacher's screen in real time, with the option to lock student screens to prevent them from changing their answers. Likewise, during the presentation, teachers can backtrack to previous slides to add in impromptu questions.

What are the best Pear Deck features?

Pear Deck offers lots of resources for teachers to help in creating and working with presentations. A sample question gallery, help articles, and a user forum are among the highlights, as well as lots of ideas for teachers to work from.

The system conveniently works with both traditional projectors as well as interactive whiteboards. The fact it integrates perfectly with anything that's in the Google infrastructure makes this super simple to use for those schools already working with Google systems.

Pear Deck

(Image credit: Pear Deck)

The anonymity of each student is brilliant, allowing the teacher to see how the class is working, live, and have it up on the big screen if needed, but without anyone feeling shy about being singled out. This is ideal for both in class and remote learning.

The ability to add audio to slides is a nice touch as it can allow teachers to quickly add a personal note on work – ideal if this is being done remotely.

The teacher dashboard is a useful addition that allows teachers to see how everyone is progressing. They can pause, slow down, back up, and generally adapt to the way the class is working so everyone is kept involved. 

How much does Pear Deck cost?

Pear Deck comes in three packages:

Free: Offers most of the main feature including creation of lessons, Google and Microsoft integration, student Locks and Timers, templates to use, and access to a Flashcard Factory.

Individual Premium at $149.99 per year: This has all of the above as well as the ability to view and highlight responses by name, support remote and asynchronous work with Student Paced mode, add draggable and drawable responses, add on-the-fly questions and activities, share student progress with Takeaways, get Immersive Reader, add audio to slides, and more.

Schools and districts at a custom price: All of the above plus efficacy reports, training, dedicated support, and LMS integrations with Canvas and Schoology.

Pear Deck Best Tips and Tricks

Present live
Use the classroom screen to control a presentation while combining student personal device interactivity to engage, live.

Get listening
Record your voice directly onto a slide to give it a more personal feel, ideal for when students are accessing the presentation from home.

Question the class
Use multiple choice questions that allow you to pace the presentation, only moving on once everyone in the class has given an answer from their device.

Go blank
Use blank slides throughout the presentation as a space for students to creatively express their understanding as you work through the material.

Luke Edwards is a freelance writer and editor with more than two decades of experience covering tech, science, and health. He writes for many publications covering health tech, software and apps, digital teaching tools, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and much more.