As we move forward from an unprecedented year, we continue to navigate technology and its steep learning curve. Today I want to highlight the app Pear Deck ~ a free version exists and a paid version, which obviously offers some outstanding, interactive features for students. But first, review the following.
Some Factors for Successful Technology Use
- Be a continuous learner, risk taker, and step out of your comfort zone
- Build a relationship with your IT (Information Technology) colleague
- How to build this relationship?
*Provide an application (what you’re trying to accomplish)
*Record the steps of the solution the IT gives
*Read his/her technology tips/newsletter
*Attend mini workshops the IT offers
- Practice the new concept a few times to work out the “bugs” and be able to execute it so well that you can precisely talk/present the concept to the student who struggles with technology him/herself
- Collaborate with students that you’re in this together and learn from each other
- Finally, use a few programs/applications really well than trying many and not being very efficient in anything
Pear Deck Advantages
- No special lesson plans required when using Google. Take original lesson plans (slide presentation) and determine which slides to make interactive. By interactive, I’m referring to what or how you want students to actively engage in. The various features may be found on the right tool bar in Pear Deck. Keep in mind that more options are available with a paid subscription. Not every slide needs to be interactive. Mix it up to keep students on their toes.
- Teacher can assess very quickly the level of student engagement on interactive slides – what students are doing or not doing or what confusions arise from the concept provided.
- Immediate teacher feedback to students results from this visual assessment (progress monitor).
- Save lessons and student work for later reflection and analysis (progress monitor evidence).
- Ease of use – Watch this youtube video for a demonstration.
The disadvantage is that only a paid subscription provides the drawing feature. Below, find a word study application that demonstrates how useful this drawing tool can be, especially when students are totally remote.
Word Study Application for Middle School
I used the drawing feature to model and teach syllabication.
Focus: How to divide a 2-syllable CVC word in order to pronounce it (so students know what sound the vowel makes) using the word, picnic.
Identify vowels with dots. Look between the vowels and draw a line or scoop beneath the 2 consonsants: pic nic. Now read the syllables and now read the word.
We then proceeded to work through about five, useful, carefully chosen words.
When we first worked on this, I found out immediately who could identify vowels quickly and who understood that a CVC word contained a short vowel sound. Gradually as we moved through the various syllable types, the words shown would include mixed syllable types, such as the word, implore. This example provides the teacher another golden opportunity to review different syllable type and the type of vowel it contains with no additional work on the teacher’s part.
Tip: Definitely use nonsense words, especially with 2-syllable words where one part may be found as part of a real word. For example, im-clude. Not a real word yet many real words end with -clude.
Next time, I will share a few more applications.
Pear Deck ~ Simple. Fun. Versatile.