Many school counselors and teachers are struggling to adapt their in-person lesson plans to the online format, but I think I have the solution. If you have not already used this resource in your classroom, you are going to fall in love!
Last month, our tech guru, Gina McGhee, introduced me to PearDeck, which is an online learning format that allows instructors to present materials, collect data, and engage users in their content. It is similar to your typical slide show, but only if your slide show was using illicit steroids.
Through PearDeck, you can quickly gauge information about your students and allow them to engage directly with the content. In a recent lesson with first graders, I was able to see what the majority of students most wanted to learn about before the lesson even began, as I did in the screenshot below.
PearDeck also makes it easy to see what knowledge your students have about particular topics. In the photo below, you can see that the majority of my first-grade students were unaware that all of them knew someone who had attended college, which opened the dialog about the education their teachers received.
It also makes it easy for the instructor to see what information students have absorbed as the lesson progresses.
Yay! They were all paying attention!
PearDeck also allows students to use their creativity and draw or write to answer questions. As the instructor, you get the responses from the class right away without the cumbersome process of paper collection and grading. In the photo below, I was able to walk around the classroom and see students as they were drawing. The little girl shared that she hoped to become a veterinarian because she loves animals.
Through PearDeck, I can take screen-shots of slides from some of my previous lessons and add in the question grabs to collect data as I present the information. (Cheers to not reinventing the wheel!) As an instructor, it is nice to have individual and group data all in a centralized location.
I will suggest naming your lessons as you present; otherwise, you might have a hard time recalling which class was which after the fact.
In addition to allowing students to walk with you through a presentation, it is possible to turn on the “self-paced” mode and will enable them to work through the content at their own pace. For students whose first language is not English or children who struggle reading, using PearDeck will allow the use of “text to speech” functions or even allow students to use their first language by editing the settings on their computers.
I will admit that using this with my littles was difficult, especially since they haven’t had a lot of exposure to technology. Still, it is possible, and absolutely worth the effort.
Sidenote: You should write down the login code on the board for the moment when one of your kiddos somehow manages to log themselves out of the program.
I hope this post helps as you navigate teaching online.