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Templates & Lessons

March 15, 2022

Pear Deck Joined The Flipgrid Discovery Library!

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Stacey Roshan

How do you empower every student with the opportunity to formulate their thoughts and express ideas and feelings?

Personally, I believe that edtech tools are a powerful answer to this essential question. Two of my favorite tech tools I use to achieve this goal are Pear Deck and Flipgrid — which is why I’m so excited that Pear Deck is now part of the Discovery Library! 🎉

Why are these two tools so powerful together?

Back in 2017, one of my goals for the school year was to help students discover new ideas and promote higher-order thinking skills. To reach that goal, I decided to develop Student-Paced Pear Decks with a progression of questions ramping up in difficulty.

As I started creating these types of discovery-based activities, I was looking for ways to see and hear how students think. I tried embedding a Flipgrid topic into Pear Deck using a “Website slide” and, to my joy, the Flipgrid embedded brilliantly! Students were able to both record and listen to the responses of their peers without ever having to leave the Pear Deck!

Developing deeper understanding with Pear Deck

Instead of just asking students to solve a problem that they didn’t yet know how to solve, a Student-Paced Pear Deck allowed me to break the question down into a series of smaller tasks and guide learners through a process of self-discovery.

You may have heard me talk about doing this during the optimization unit in AP Calculus, which is a particularly challenging topic. By shifting from a traditional problem set over to this interactive, discovery-based Pear Deck, I was able to help students develop a deeper understanding and see them make connections quicker.


Pear Deck + Flipgrid = Easier AP Calculus

For this particular activity, I used the following components to guide students through a challenging AP Calculus concept:

1. Use a Drawing slide to draw a picture

  • Label both what’s given and what they’re trying to find

2. Use a Text slide to write out what they’re trying to optimize

  • What type of formula can they come up with to represent this information?

3. Use a Text slide to ask important questions

  • What other information does the question provide that might help them solve this question?

4. Use a Website slide to embed Flipgrid

  • Ask your students to talk about their strategy for tackling this problem

After taking those steps, most students were able to find the information they needed to solve the problem fully. The embedded Flipgrid was a really valuable part of this activity because it forced students to talk out their thoughts and brainstorm their process before getting started (and potentially getting stuck and frustrated).

Using Flipgrid to solve problems and individualize feedback

How many times have you tried to figure something out on your own, and then, when you finally decide to ask for help, suddenly figure it out?

Oftentimes, it is in the process of describing your problem that the solution suddenly becomes apparent. With Flipgrid, I’m able to encourage my students to engage in this same type of process with themselves. As the teacher, I can also review each video and hear how students are processing the material and making connections. Because of that, I can help guide them in taking their thinking to the next level. I can truly individualize student feedback when I have the opportunity to hear each and every student think out loud.

Facilitating teacher growth through well-built templates

Integrating edtech tools into my lesson design has been a journey that has taken years. Let’s face it — building the activity I described above takes both time and experience. The longer I teach, the more I know what students will be confused about and how I can encourage their solution process without giving too much away.

In the Flipgrid Discovery Library, I’ve found brilliant inspiration — from other educators, from education providers, and from experts in the field. Although I don’t usually use the material verbatim, it’s a tremendous base to start from. Similarly, Pear Deck’s premade templates have played a big role in my growth as a teacher, encouraging me to always start with a check-in, ask better questions, and close with a reflection.

With the new Pear Deck and Flipgrid partnership, even more of this well-designed, thoughtful content is available at our fingertips! And since they’re easily editable and customizable to your style and class needs, having these templates as a base is a game-changer.

Let's look at an example: practicing gratitude

I want to walk you through an example I love — Practicing Gratitude. In this demo, I will show you:

  • How to copy the Pear Deck template into your own Google Slides
  • How to adjust your Google Slides and launch this activity in your classroom
  • What steps you need to take to properly embed the Flipgrid topic (that you’ll find in the Discovery Library) into your Pear Deck activity
  • What your student’s experience will look like from start to finish

I can’t wait to see what you will create!

I hope that this article gets you excited and sparks some ideas! I also hope that you now feel prepared to launch a Pear Deck of your own with this new Flipgrid integration. I would love to see what you’re creating, answer any questions you have, and hear more about your experiences as you explore the possibilities with your students. Please tag me on Twitter @buddyxo so that I can amplify your ideas and help out if you need anything! Because, as the Flipgrid & Pear Deck team has modeled, we are #BetterTogether.

Resources

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Stacey Roshan

Director of Innovation & Educational Technology

Bullis School

Stacey is Director of Innovation & Educational Technology at Bullis School and author of Tech with Heart: Leveraging Technology to Empower Student Voice, Ease Anxiety, & Create Compassionate Classrooms. She is passionate about bringing innovative tools into the classroom to create a safe learning environment for all students to find their voice and build confidence. Her work has been featured in USA Today, The Washington Post, CNN and PBS Newshour.

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