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Engaging Every Student

September 4, 2020

Case Study: Pear Deck makes continuous learning simple and effective

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Pear Deck Team

Background

Poudre School District is a long-time Pear Deck customer, and was one of the first to purchase a district-wide Pear Deck Premium license back in 2015. Championed by Professional Learning Coordinator Kevin Murray, the district has maintained steady growth in its Pear Deck usage and subsequent student engagement over the last five years — a trend that would serve them well in the abrupt transition to remote learning.

Murray recalls the first time he was introduced to Pear Deck: “I was instantly hooked.” Fast forward to March 2020, when schools were thrown headlong into emergency closures — Murray’s director told him he would be leading the tech-focused professional development for classroom teachers across the district. Thankfully, he already had a plan.

“I said, ‘If I’m in charge, we’re focused on sound instructional practices, feedback, differentiation, clarity in your standards, and clear content delivery. That’s what I want to focus on: the good teaching stuff, the connections, the culture of your classroom, and then the tech tools come next.’” And the tech tool that was first in line: Pear Deck.

“Pear Deck just made sense. It was a tool that could be used live, one-to-one, in face-to-face situations, but also outside of the classroom. It made a lot of sense to really focus on that."

Kevin Murray, Professional Learning Coordinator

How Pear Deck helped

Sarah Bucko and Sandra Weeks, science teachers from Rocky Mountain High School, were two of many Poudre instructors who were able to transition seamlessly from classroom to remote instruction. “I was really glad that I had been using Pear Deck in my classroom prior to the pandemic,” Bucko reflects. “I was able to stick to things we had already been using and so the feedback I received from students is that it ‘felt sort of normal.’” More than a small victory in the face of such unprecedented uncertainty.

Weeks had been using Pear Deck prior to closures for higher-level instruction. As the pandemic wore on, she increasingly leaned on Pear Deck: “The longer we did remote learning, the more I used [Pear Deck] because I was seeing good results. [And] I could build some social pieces into the slides so we could maintain that feeling of togetherness, even though we weren’t going to be together.”  

Results & future plans

With Pear Deck, “the entry point for [students] is very low, but the insight that it grants teachers is really powerful,” said Weeks. Like Bucko, Weeks’ students also expressed gratitude for the simplicity of Pear Deck as their primary learning vehicle.

“The connections [with Pear Deck] are deep,” Murray agrees. “And the pedagogy behind everything is there, and it’s awesome.” Whatever Poudre’s approach to continuous learning in the coming school year — whether in person, remote, or blended — Pear Deck will remain an integral part of the plan.

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Pear Deck Team

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