Engaging Every Student
September 4, 2020
Case Study: Strategic planning prepares teachers for transition
Pear Deck Team
Mesquite Independent School District in Mesquite, TX is a district with a plan — especially when it comes to technology selection. When selecting the right tools for effective instruction, Mesquite ISD adheres to a clear-cut and rigorous technology plan. Based on this seven-strand framework, they purchased a district-wide Pear Deck Premium subscription for the 2019-20 school year, and it was within this same plan that district instructional coaches deployed over 50 Pear Deck-specific training sessions as part of their transition to remote learning that spring.
The seven strands of Mesquite ISD’s Technology Plan, found on the district website, include Collaboration; Curiosity; Communication; Contextual Learning; Problem Solving & Critical Thinking; Digital Citizenship; and Formative Assessment & Differentiation. According to Cara Jackson, Executive Director of Instructional Technology, Pear Deck fits into “quite a few,” if not all strands, either for Teacher or Learner Behavior domains.
How Pear Deck helped
When school closures began, Jackson’s team of Instructional Technology Coaches went to work delivering training to the district’s 2,600 teachers on the tech tools the district had carefully selected. The appetite for Pear Deck instruction was powerful from the outset. “In the beginning, we had a strong core group of Pear Deck users that understood what it was. They understood how to use it in their classroom,” explains Coach Jena Montgomery. “They wanted to learn more about using it in an asynchronous environment.”
Pear Deck usage continued to grow steadily as closures were extended throughout the spring.
By the end of the school year, Mesquite ISD teachers had captured over 2,000,000 moments of student engagement using Pear Deck. Of its 40,000 students, more than 37,000 had engaged in a Pear Deck lesson during the school year.
Not only did Pear Deck allow for instructional continuity, it also captured data to be reported to the Texas Education Agency — whether each student was considered highly active, somewhat active, or unreachable. Such engagement could be easily ascertained from Pear Deck’s Teacher Dashboard.
Plans for the future
Despite uncertainty around what back to school may look like in fall 2020, the district has yet another clear-cut plan to ensure teachers are ready for whatever may come. To help teachers prepare, Jackson’s team is hosting an extensive summer PD series titled “Project Learn Anywhere.” The program focuses on five areas of instruction: Platform, Planning, Delivery, Evidence of Learning, and Working with Parents. Pear Deck will serve as an integral part of the district’s approach for both Delivery and Evidence of Learning.
Illustration by Kate Moore
Pear Deck Team
Helping teachers deliver powerful learning moments
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