20 ways to use Pear Deck to engage students

The standard lecture has plenty of detractors, and rightfully so. Done poorly, it can be an uninspired stream of facts, delivered in sit-and-get style that get forgotten quickly.

However, we can turn the standard lecture — and its tool of choice, the presentation slide! — on its head.

The result can be students actively working with new ideas. Hands-on. Right away.

Presentation slides can be a drag.

But when students (and teachers!) have something interactive to do with them, it changes the game.

That’s what I love about Pear Deck. And, of course, the best news: much of what I show you in this post can be done with the free plan!

(Note: I have no official relationship with Pear Deck, and I’m not being paid for writing this post. I’m just a Pear Deck user who loves the potential for it and wants to share it with others! I was given a Pear Deck premium account for review.)

What is Pear Deck?

It’s a way to turn your presentation slides into interactive activities for your students. (It also works wonderfully with teachers in professional development!)

If you’re using Google Slides, Pear Deck makes it super easy to get started.
Pear Deck has created a Google Slides add-on. This makes it SUPER easy to make your slides interactive right from Google Slides.

  1. Open a Google Slides presentation.
  2. Click on the “Add-ons” menu and “Get add-ons …”.
  3. Search for “Pear Deck” and click the blue “+ FREE” button.
  4. Load up the Pear Deck sidebar menu. (It’ll look like the image above/right.)
pear deck sidebar menu

Here’s a video that shows how to use Pear Deck with Google Slides:

How to use Pear Deck for remote learning

Pear Deck gives you interactive options when teaching remotely.

  • Gather students on a video call with Skype, Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams. 
  • Share your screen with an interactive Pear Deck presentation.
  • Students join the presentation in a separate tab (or in a window side-by-side with the video call).
  • Students follow along with the presentation and interact with the slides. You talk through the presentation on the video call.

Student-paced mode for Remote Learning

Students can progress through interactive Pear Deck slides independently in student-paced mode.

  • Create slides.
  • Share them with students with a deadline to finish them.  
  • Students work through the slides and interact with them.
  • You watch their progress through Pear Deck.
  • When they’re finished, Pear Deck gives you results to guide your instruction.

In the video below, I gave a webinar on how to use student-paced mode. Check it out to see how student-paced mode works, how it can be used for remote learning, and for answers to common questions. 

Flip through the webinar slides (below) to get a feel for how student-paced mode works.


  • 101 Practical Ways to Ditch That Textbook, Matt’s insanely practical guide full of new teaching ideas (updated spring 2018!)
  • 101 Ways to Ditch That Textbook with G Suite, tons of practical, creative ways to use Google tools in the classroom.
  • 50 Templates for Teachers, with templates you can copy and download to assign directly to students.