Chris Bush, Commerce and English teacher extraordinaire, is using Pear Deck to engage his Year 9 Commerce class. Pear Deck is about formative assessment and student engagement. When Catherine and I accepted Chris’ invitation to observe the Pear Deck experience in his class, we were impressed by how students were completely focused on the learning process and on Chris himself. Far from being a lesson requiring students to concentrate on what the teacher is saying for a long period of time with the occasional hand up to answer a question, Pear Deck involves each student simultaneously, and switches between listening, responding, testing, and immediate feedback. Pear Deck provides the teacher and every student with a screen so that students can follow screen content created and controlled by the teacher. Chris also used some good old fashioned note-taking which I think works well in small doses. I really did like the mix of technology and old fashioned handwriting – I think this works to focus the students. I always found writing notes helped me think about and understand the notes.
Technology is not a simple solution or pedagogy on its own but Pear Deck provides a platform which can be adapted to suit the needs of the lesson. Of course Chris has also built up a relationship with the class, and has built community too. It’s obvious that his students are happy to be there, and happy to be part of the cohort. This is a perfect partnership – teacher/students relationship and targeted use of technology.