Edtech Equity and Engagement Blog Series: Part 2 of 4 – Pear Deck and Nearpod Interactive Slides

Welcome back to the Edtech Equity and Engagement Blog Series! For the second part of this blog series, we are going to evaluate the equity and engagement of interactive slideshow edtech tools. Interactive slideshows are slideshows built into Google Slides and PowerPoint, which allow students to interact in a multitude of ways with what’s being presented by the teacher in synchronous or asynchronous settings. Students can interact with the slides by answering multiple-choice questions, polls, and writing prompts, drawing, matching terms/vocabulary, and collaborating on bulletin boards/whiteboards. These interactive slides have the ability to heighten student engagement and provide opportunities for active overt and covert learning.

Introducing Pear Deck and Nearpod

Two of the most popular interactive slide edtech tools on the market are currently Pear Deck and Nearpod. Many educators are aware of them because of their explosion in popularity and use over the past six months. For those who need a refresher or may not know how each of these tools work, two video tutorials show you the student and teacher interface for both tools. Each video shows how to set up the presentations as well as some of their major features teachers can utilize in their classrooms.

Why are Interactive Slides Equitable

Interactive slides are equitable because they provide opportunities for students to learn at their own pace. Also, both Pear Deck and Nearpod allow teachers to differentiate the modalities students can interact with content as well as build skills. Listening, speaking, drawing, and writing are all ways students can interact with the slides so all learners can engage in the learning.

How Interactive Slides are Engaging/Instruction Integration

Interactive slides are engaging because they allow students to engage in overt and covert learning. There are a number of instructional strategies that can be done on both Pear Deck and Nearpod to allow this to happen.

  1. Socioemotional Learning – With the ability to draw, answer check in questions, and opportunities to collaborate, there are so many options to engage your students in socioemotional learning. By either creating your own SEL lessons or by using the already pre-made slides, interactive slides provide an avenue to work on SEL and building classroom community.
  2. Quickwrites/Bell Ringers – At the beginning of class, Nearpod and Pear Deck slides can be used for quickwrites and bell ringers, which are practice problems teachers can evaluate. Pear Deck has an amazing feature of allowing teachers to provide immediate individual feedback during this activity as well as for each slide the student interacted with.
  3. Collaboration – Digital bulletin boards, ,word walls, word webs, and idea generation through written responses can be utilized by all students during a Pear Deck or Nearpod synchronous or asynchronous presentation.
  4. Metacognition, Reflection, and Self-Assessment – Written short responses, likert style survey questions, and opportunities to draw what they have observed/learned. For each of these purposes, the types of questions shown above can be ways students interact with these concepts.
  5. The Use of Simulations and Fieldtrips to Demonstrate Concepts – Nearpod provides the opportunity for virtual field trips and simulations. In addition, they provide several interactive diagrams to students can engage for Math and Science.
  6. Interactive Vocabulary Slide Decks – On Pear Deck, students can collaborate on vocabulary slide decks in a synchronous setting. During this activity, a teacher can then work with an entire class or small group and determine whether the vocabulary drawing or personal definition best fits the concept/word.
  7. Use of Manipulatives for Mathematics – Manipulatives on Pear Deck can be generated by utilizing dots that represent values (a key can be provided on the slide that is color coded).
  8. Formative Assessment – Students can answer multiple choice, free response, and conduct performance-based assessments on Pear Deck and Nearpod.
  9. Socratic Seminars – Socratic Seminars can be utilized on both Pear Deck and Nearpod as places for students to respond to student generated questions as well as teacher generated questions in real time. Teachers have the ability to share student responses in real-time.
  10. Read-Alouds – Teachers can either place recorded audio or use an immersive reader add on (Pear Deck). What this does is allows students to have all text read aloud to them when they access and engage with slides.
  11. Paraphrasing, Annotating, and Summarizing Slides – On both Pear Deck and Nearpod, teachers can have their students annoatate text with the drawing feature as well as paraphrase and summarize slides with embedded text passages through the written response features.
  12. Modeling – Along with Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams, teachers can model a concept and then have students on Pear Deck or Nearpod demonstrate the concept that was modeled or discuss through drawing, recorded audio, or writing their thinking.
  13. Think-Aloud – On Nearpod, students can record their voice or integrate Flipgrid to the slidedeck so students can access a Flipgrid grid to respond to a prompt to demonstrate their reasoning.
  14. Student Goal Setting – A teacher can provide a lesson objective and students can write success skills or ‘goals’ to reach the lessons objective.
  15. So Many More Ideas to Integrate Instructional Strategies to Pear Deck and Nearpod!– Click here to look at a large list of instructional strategies. Many from this list can be integrated on interactive slides like Pear Deck or Nearpod.

Data Reports

Each interactive slideshow tool has data reports to see how many students engaged with the slides as well as their work they completed during a synchronous or asynchronous slideshow. All of their activity can be viewed on a graphical interface to show student progress and their responses. Also, there is the ability to export that data onto a spreadsheet (especially if you utilized the slides for assessment). This data can be used for analysis to drive instructional decision-making as well as log into a gradebook.

In addition, student responses on Pear Deck can be sent back to students once they’ve interacted with the slides either synchronously or asynchronously. These responses of how the student interacted with slides can be emailed automatically to them to review. Take a look below on how you can send your students their responses from interacting with the Pear Deck slides to review for later.

Feedback in Realtime on Pear Deck

Each interactive slide tool has the ability to provide students feedback. One major difference between Pear Deck and Nearpod is for real-time feedback. Pear Deck has the most user friendly interface on the “teacher dashboard” to view student slide interaction in real time and give them feedback. Below is a great example of how teachers can provide students feedback in real-time or at a later time.


Besides Pear Deck and Nearpod, there are several other edtech tools that act as interactive slides. Some of those tools include Poll Everywhere and Mentimeter, which also have many functions similiar to Pear Deck and Nearpod that make lessons engaging and equitable to all of their students.

Overall, interactive slides allow for engaging and equitable instruction to take place synchronously and asynchronously. Students of all ability levels and every grade levels can interact and engage in these slides to learn content and skills. These edtech tools can be a foundational tool along with your learning management system to deliver instruction in online, blended, and traditional classroom settings. There are endless applications to provide instruction for your students! Look to see how you can incorporate interactive slides in your classroom this school as it will revolutionize your instruction.

Continuing the Conversation

If you would like to continue the conversation to share more applications and features of interactiveslides, please write them in the comment below. Or, if you would like continue the conversation on Twitter, respond to the post or contact me directly @mattrhoads1990. I would look forward to learning more from you!

Published by Matthew Rhoads, Ed.D.

Innovator, EdTech Trainer and Leader, University Lecturer & Teacher Candidate Supervisor, Consultant, Author, and Podcaster

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