When I Added Pear Deck to my Toolkit...

Last year I decided to take a chance and create a 1:1 classroom using Chromebooks. With the tips I learned at CVCUE in the Spring, my experiments with various edtech projects, and my Twitter PLN, I was eager and ready to dive into edtech.

During those two weeks, I was trying new ideas every day and I heard about a new app on Twitter called Pear Deck. The logo of Pear Deck, an adorable smiling pear, was intriguing along with the fact that they offered students opportunities to engage directly with the lesson on their own Chromebooks. They could answer formative assessment questions by drawing, choosing multiple choice questions, dragging a dot to various locations, or inputting numbers. So I signed up for the beta testing and was thrilled when I received my golden ticket.

Not a real golden ticket, but the adorable Pear dressed up as Willy Wonka was just as good.
Instantly, my students and I fell in love with the app; students loved interacting with material immediately and I loved that I could ensure every student was participating while also monitoring learning. But my students and I had a burning question that needed answering: why a pear? I tweeted to Pear Deck, but honestly didn't except a response then I got a notification a few hours later:

Even though I only got the chance to use it for a week, we continued to fall in love with it. I invited administration to come and see the app in action and continued to tweet about it. My students insisted on using every day and by the end of the session of summer school they voted it as one of their favorite tools:

When the 2014/2015 school started up, Pear Deck had left beta testing and was live for everyone. I immediately integrated it within my curriculum since I was given more access to the Chromebooks than the year before. As I continued to use it within my classroom, people began to take notice and I began to plan with my administrators to do a training on Pear Deck for my colleagues. To go with my training, Pear Deck surprised me with my very own shirt.
Students didn't believe me so naturally I had to wear it to school.
During this time, I had considered presenting at CVCUE, but was nervous since I had never presented to anyone beyond my colleagues. With some encouragement, I applied and was chosen to present at the CVCUE Spring session. Despite my nerves, the overall two-hour presentation was a hit and I was eager to lead more edtech presentations. A few weeks later I was approached by Anthony Showalter, one of the co-founders of Pear Deck, about presenting the app at the Central Valley Google Summit at Minarets High School.

Even though it seemed severely out of my league, I agreed and in May I led two separate sessions about Pear Deck with the support and help of Anthony.

Now I'm back to where I started a year ago, teaching summer school where it's 103 outside. Yet so much as changed in the last year; I've began presenting at edtech conferences and finished my second year of teaching whole Pear Deck has added multiple new features, like the ability to insert websites and the timer (an idea I suggested) . I never thought an edtech app could do so much for a teacher and I'm glad I decided to take a chance and integrate the adorable smiling Pear into my classroom. Now I'm smiling as I inform students that this was the first Pear Deck I ever made and when they stay after class to let me know how much they enjoy using the app.


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