How Pear Deck Is Empowering Teachers in Iowa Schools
Students learn in countless ways, and adapting instruction to meet each individual's needs is a significant challenge. Considering the wide variety of learning styles, how can schools ensure support for every student?
Stacy Behmer, the Coordinator of Digital Learning and Media Services at Grant Wood Area Education Agency (AEA) in Iowa, navigated the challenges of engaging a diverse student population across seven counties with her team of dedicated, digital learning consultants. Their AEA covers an area serving over 73,000 students, with an urban and rural mix, presenting a unique set of hurdles that needed innovative solutions.
Before Pear Deck was widely used in the state, teachers grappled with assessing student engagement and understanding using a variety of tools, all of which served individual needs, but weren’t as comprehensive when it came to depth of data collection and analysis, as well as enabling student responses.
"We had a bunch of edtech tools, but the data we collected and the ability students had to show evidence of their understanding simply wasn't as deep as it is now," Stacy recalled.
One size finally fits all
As an early advocate for Pear Deck, Stacy supported its inclusion as a technology tool for Iowan teachers. Pear Deck is a dynamic engagement platform that seamlessly integrates technology into the learning experience, offering features such as self-paced activities, interactive feedback, and an immersive reader.
Stacy highlighted the significance of the fact that Pear Deck consolidates the best features of various tools into one comprehensive solution. Paired with the platform's intuitive nature, it has played a crucial role in transforming teaching and learning.
The decision to embrace Pear Deck statewide was prompted during the COVID-19 pandemic. As districts grappled with the challenges of remote and hybrid learning, Pear Deck emerged as a versatile solution that could provide equity across various educational landscapes. Stacy emphasized the tool's cross-curricular nature, making it suitable for diverse subjects and modalities, and its commitment to supporting urban and rural districts.
"Pear Deck empowers the teacher to do the things they want to be able to do and get to know their students,” she said. This stems from the tool’s ability to cater to different learning styles and abilities, ensuring no student is left behind. Its flexibility allows them to respond through drawing, writing, or audio, providing a personalized learning experience that fits their unique learning style.
Beyond the classroom
The success of Pear Deck isn't just confined to the classroom. Stacy shared how Pear Deck has been utilized in professional development, creating micro-credentials and self-paced learning experiences for educators. The platform's insights feature has proved valuable in gauging usage data and tailoring professional development strategies accordingly.
Beyond the traditional classroom setting, administrators have found innovative uses for Pear Deck. From conducting meetings to involving parents in the learning process, Pear Deck has become a versatile tool for fostering communication and engagement in multiple ways for various users.
Making Pear Deck their own
The creativity demonstrated by teachers in utilizing Pear Deck encourages a continued exploration of the platform's capabilities, according to Stacy. From enhancing classroom routines to facilitating collaborative curriculum planning, it has become an indispensable ally in the pursuit of effective and inclusive education.
Stacy Behmer stated Grant Wood AEA has found a reliable partner in Pear Deck, and is grateful for how it contributes to a future of empowered educators and engaged learners.