Student Collaboration Strategies Using Pear Deck and Nearpod – Part 3

By: Matt Rhoads, Ed.D

Dr. Matt Rhoads is a Tech and Instructional Leader and Innovator with hands in Adult Ed, K-12, and Higher Education. He is the author of several books and is the host of Navigating Education – The Podcast.

Collaboration with Pear Deck and Nearpod can be done in a variety of ways that can amplify student learning. In this post, several strategies will be discussed to help you create these collaborative activities using interactive slides. First, we will outline several steps to think about while creating collaborative tasks and activities. Then, we will discuss three strategies that can be utilized on Pear Deck and Nearpod that can be done collaboratively by students. These strategies include Think, Write, Pair, and Share, Reciprocal Teaching, and Collaborative Bulletin Boards.ย 

Collaboration – Things to Think About Student Collaboration Activities

A few things to think about before student collaboration. This list will help you create collaborative groups and activities that will lead to students being successful in completing the task and getting the most learning out of it!

  • We want to keep our groups to three or four students max. 
  • We also want our groups of students to be heterogeneous, but also strategically placed. For example, in ESL, you place a student whose strength is in writing while the other two students have strengths in speaking. 
  • Also, we want to try and create roles within the group to complete the task. 
  • Last, we want to create a task that students can do in three to four steps. We do not want to overwhelm the group with too many things they are required to do. 

Collaboration Opportunities Using both Nearpod and Pear Deck and Nearpod

On either Pear Deck or Nearpod, we can create collaborative tasks using the slides. We will be discussing Think-Pair-Share and Reciprocal Teaching. 


This strategy is geared towards being collaborative. Students complete a task individually and then are paired with a partner or group to share their ideas and synthesize them. Finally, after synthesizing their ideas and writing them down together, they will have the opportunity to share them with the class. Generally, this strategy can be utilized to activate prior knowledge at the beginning of the lesson or it can be used during guided practice to further develop ideas and share insights. 

For Think, Write, Pair, and Share, you will need to develop three slides that are ordered consecutively in your slide deck for the instructional sequence of the strategy. 

  1. Think – This is a slide that has the initial prompt and visual to go along with it. 
  2. Write – This turns into an interactive text or draw slide. 
  3. Pair/Share – This is an interactive slide as it allows both students to share their responses and then write a combined response to share with the class in the last sequence. 

Generally, students are provided with a prompt. Think time is given for students to process the prompt. Then, they are asked to write their response on the following interactive slide. Three to five minutes is given for their response. Following their response, students are grouped or paired using breakout rooms or a place in the classroom. Once this has been completed. Students share their answers in the group. Then, students are asked to synthesize their answers to then be possibly shared with the class. After this has occurred, two to three groups are asked to share their responses to prompt further discussion on the topic. 

See the short sequence of slides that have been created for you using Pear Deck. You can make a copy and then utilize it for your class by adding your own content to it. Then, WATCH an explanation of the strategy with this video. 

Reciprocal Teaching

Reciprocal teaching provides our students with opportunities throughout an entire lesson to critically think regarding what you are teaching them. This strategy has four interactive slides sequenced at the beginning, middle, and end of the lesson. During each of these instructional sequences that make up the predicting, questioning, clarifying, and summarizing slides, students are given opportunities to collaborate with interactive slides. 

  1. Predicting – On this slide, a prompt or phenomenon is discussed. Students are asked to predict what may happen next. This can be a text or draw interactive slide. Students can work with a partner or group to make a prediction regarding the lesson. 
  2. Questioning – Following the prediction slide or guided practice where the concept is discussed more in-depth, students can be asked to formulate several questions that can be collaboratively developed. This generally is a draw or text interactive slide. 
  3. Clarifying – Students are shown by the teacher through modeling the solution or answer several of the questions the students have provided. This is generally near the end of the lesson. This is not an interactive slide. 
  4. Summarizing – Students are paired or grouped together and are asked to summarize the lesson. Students are asked if the prediction they formulated at the beginning of the lesson was anywhere near where the lesson took them. Additionally, they can be asked if their questions were answered throughout the lesson. 

When this strategy is initiated, it is scattered throughout an entire lesson. Itโ€™s not a consecutive sequence. For the collaborative aspects of this strategy, students can be paired or grouped together within breakout rooms or in specific areas of the classroom. The groups of the students can be changed throughout the lesson or changed multiple times depending on what you would like to do. Overall, this strategy is a great way to keep students engaged and consistently collaborating throughout an entire lesson. 

See the short sequence of slides that have been created for you using Pear Deck. You can make a copy and then utilize it for your class by adding your own content to it. Then, WATCH an explanation of the strategy with this video. 

Collaboration Opportunities Using Nearpod

Specifically for Nearpod, we will be showcasing the bulletin board feature that can be turned into a collaborative activity for your students. 

Bulletin Board

On Nearpod, you can create a bulletin board where students are required to answer a prompt and answer. Then, their response appears on a digital bulletin board. To make this collaborative, you can pair students in multiple groups or in pairs. Then, in a breakout room or on a table in a classroom, they will be asked to work together to come up with a response to the prompt. Thereafter, once they have a response, the group members will be asked to respond to the other bulletin board posts and to like them. Their response can quote another groupโ€™s response and/or have the groupโ€™s names at the top of the response to signify its a response versus the first answer given. This is then followed up by a short classroom discussion on the prompt and topic. 

Collaborate with Nearpod | Nearpod, Collaboration, 100 day celebration

In Summary – Collaboration Strategies Using Interactive Slides

There is a wide range of strategies that can be configured to be done collaboratively. Jigsaw, concept mapping and sketch noting are also strategies that can be done collaboratively. Many others exist as well. We are looking forward to assisting you in integrating these strategies with EdTech to amplify the learning of your students!

Published by Matthew Rhoads, Ed.D.

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

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