This summer Pear Deck announced the introduction of student-paced mode; the ability for the teacher to allow students to work through the slide deck at their own pace. This is a feature I enjoyed in the Desmos activities I’d been building for graphing (interesting also that Desmos introduced their teacher-paced mode around the same time that Pear Deck introduced student-paced; both platforms now offering both pacing options).
Not sure what Pear Deck is or does? Watch this quick video before reading further:
How to turn on student-paced mode:
Click the 3-dot menu icon on the bottom right of your screen while presenting your Pear Deck, and the option to turn student-paced mode on (or off later) will be there:
How do I use student-paced mode?
Most of the activities I do in my math class are in the style of 3 Act Math (a concept put forth by Dan Meyer).
Act 1 consists of present my students with a scenario via photo or video & asking them
- What do you notice?
- What do you wonder?
Then I show them the problem I’ve chosen for the day (usually it’s one that most kids write down for “what do you wonder?” since I’ve carefully selected the scenario to lend itself to asking the question I want based on our learning goal).
- Estimate the answer: too high, too low, best guess?
Act 1 happens via Pear Deck in TEACHER-paced mode. Students are at their seats in their visibly random groups for the day assigned by playing cards. They use their own phone or a loaned chromebook (I have 6 that live in my classroom) to answer these questions on Pear Deck. We often have a quick class discussion here too about reasonable estimates and their strategies for that. I, as the teacher, am choosing when to move the slides forward for the entire group.
Act 2 consists of sending each group to their assigned vertical non-permanent surface (ie. chalkboard or whiteboard) to solve the problem. Often groups also need to do some data collection or measurement here in order to solve the problem.
At this point I have a slide with the original picture & the problem to solve written on it projected on the board while the groups are solving. The moment the first group to finish solving heads back to their seats, this is when I turn on STUDENT-paced mode. The rest of the slides will be follow up questions to reflect on their solution or to apply their thinking to extension problems. Students work on these at their own pace at their own desk.
When all groups are done and back at their seats, I lead a class discussion about the solutions from each group using the 5 practices for orchestrating productive mathematics discussions. During or after this discussion, we might also look at some of the responses to specific follow up questions on Pear Deck. If we do, I turn OFF the student-paced mode to bring everybody’s screen back to whichever one we are discussing.
Normally, in Pear Deck, there is a projected screen being shown on the board to the whole class by the teacher. The students see a “response” screen on their own device that is different than the one being projected. When in student-paced mode, the student can see both the content slide AND The student response slide on their own device. On a tablet or laptop the two screens are shown side by side when in student-paced mode:
When using a smaller device such as a phone or iPod, the student will see a blue bar across the bottom of the screen allowing them to toggle back and forth between the “content” & “response” screens:
Have you used student-paced mode in Pear Deck yet? Share in the comments below how you use it with your own students!
– Laura Wheeler (Teacher @ Ridgemont High School, OCDSB; Ottawa, ON)