Transforming class time and boosting equitable engagement

Lincoln Public Schools uses Pear Deck to support instructional delivery strategies
By: | Issue: June, 2019 | Case Study
May 7, 2019

Kirk Langer is a chief technology officer, but he compared his job to being a swim coach when considering a new presentation solution for his K-12 district. Not wanting teachers to feel like they had jumped off the high dive when they could barely tread water, Langer knew Pear Deck would make a splash at Lincoln Public Schools in Nebraska. 

Pear Deck provides an instructional delivery platform that enables teachers to create engaging, interactive classroom lessons and assessments. Web-based and device agnostic, the platform lets educators break through the barriers to student participation, and transform student devices from distractions to tools that help teachers create a meaningful connection with every student, every day.

Lincoln teachers have found Pear Deck’s applications to be easy to use. “It’s like a zero-entry pool,” Langer says. “You step in, but decide whether to go up to your ankles, your knees, your waist—or fully immerse yourself in it.”

Adoption skyrockets in three years

The district went from 11 teachers leading about 7,700 Pear Deck presentations in 2014-15 to 1,236 teachers and 1.8 million presentations in 2017-18. Langer says close to 70 percent of the district’s teachers, primarily in grades 2 through 8, use Pear Deck. During those lessons, 95 percent of students answer at least one assessment question posed by the teacher. 

“Pear Deck allows teachers to very quickly assess if student responses are consistent with the content being taught.”

“Pear Deck lets teachers quickly assess if student responses are consistent with what they’re learning, which fits our instructional delivery framework,” says Langer. “If they’re not, the teacher can remediate immediately. That in-the-moment, actionable data is important for helping students understand a concept before moving on.”

First-order change

A student logs into a Pear Deck presentation with their email account, then answers interactive questions on their device. The teacher can select responses to stimulate conversation and identify learning opportunities. Students know their answers will be seen by the teacher, but will be anonymous when shared with the class.

“Pear Deck represents more first-order than second-order change,” Langer says. “If you teach the app in context, where the skills acquisition is part and parcel of the delivery of the content itself, it feels very natural. Pear Deck has good content that’s ready to go. Teachers can modify or use it as is.”

‘Three E’s’

Pear Deck moves beyond just enticing students to participate, and provides what Langer calls “The Three E’s.” 

“It enriches, engages and empowers students,” Langer says. “Pear Deck folks want their product to be the best because they want students to learn.”

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