With so much learning happening remotely and online, I have been receiving a lot of questions about how to create interactive Google Slides. There are many ways this can be accomplished, but I have found Pear Deck to be the easiest. Particularly, if you are new to online learning and Google Slides, Pear Deck is a great option because it is simple to use and tracks student progress. So, let’s get started! By the end of this blog post, you will be a pro at creating interactive activities for presentations using Pear Deck.

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If you’re like me and prefer to learn visually, I have also created this video. It will walk you step-by-step through the process of making presentations interactive inside of Google Slides.

What is Pear Deck?

You may be wondering, “what is Pear Deck?” Pear Deck is a Google Slides add-on that allows teachers to engage students by adding interactive activities and questions to any Google Slides presentation. The add-on also allows you to view and monitor how the students interact with the slides so that you can track progress and identify areas for remediation.

To join Pear Deck, simply install the add-on inside of Google Slides. To install the add-on:

  1. Sign in to Google Slides.
  2. Click “Add-Ons” from the top menu.
  3. Select “Get Add-Ons” from the dropdown menu.
  4. Type “Pear Deck” in the search bar.
  5. You should see the Pear Deck icon appear. Click the icon. Then, click “Install.”

You will likely be asked to provide some additional information such as your email address. After you give the needed information, Pear Deck will immediately install in your Google Slides

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You can access Pear Deck at any time by clicking “Add-Ons” from the top menu and selecting “Pear Deck for Google Slides Add-On” from the dropdown menu. After opening Pear Deck in Google Slides, you will see a toolbar open on the right-hand of the screen with all the tools you need to start creating interactive Google Slides.

Creating Interactive Activities for Presentations

When creating interactive Slides with Pear Deck, you can still use many of the great Google Slides features. You use any of the Slides themes and add images the same way you normally would. Pear Deck simply installs an interactive component next to what you create.

At the time of writing this post, Pear Deck provides six ways to create interactive slides. Please note, some of these options may not be available if you are using the free version. Personally, I have found that I can create engaging interactive Google Slides with the free options available and have never opted for the upgrade.

The six options include text, choice, number, website, draw, and draggable. To embed each type of interactive activity with your Slides, just click the icon for each option. Keep in mind that you can only have one interactive with each Slide. For step-by-step instructions on how to incorporate each type of interactive, be sure to check at the video at the top of this blog post.

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  • Text: The text option allows students to respond to prompts and questions with short responses.
  • Choice: The choice option allows you to create multiple-choice questions.
  • Number: The number option allows students to type numerical responses.
  • Website: The website options allows you to embed a page from a website with the slide.
  • Draw: The draw option allows students to draw their response.
  • Draggable: The draggable option is a drag and drop item type. Students can drag markers or pointers anywhere on a slide. With this option, you are unable to add your own image for students to drag and drop. They can only drag and drop the symbols provided by Pear Deck.

Things to Keep in Mind…

When you are creating interactive Google Slides with the Pear Deck add-on, keep the following things in mind:

  • The Pear Deck add-on only adds the interactive activities. You will need to type the questions, type additional information, add themes, and add images directly onto the slide.
  • After adding an interactive activity to a Slide, you will see a gray bar appear along the bottom of that Slide. DO NOT touch or change anything in this bar! The bar contains that code that makes the Slide interactive.
  • To see what interactive activity you have added to the Slide, look at the notes for the slide. Pear Deck will automatically record a description of all interactive activities in that space.
  • If you decide you want to change an interactive, you cannot change it in the notes section of the Slide. Go to the Slide you want to change and click the blue question icon again.
  • By clicking “Our Template Library” in the Pear Deck toolbar, you can access hundreds of premade interactive templates. Templates are sorted by subject and by the part of the lesson being taught.
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How to Open Pear Deck Lessons

When your interactive Google Slides presentation is ready, you will not share it the way you would normally share a Google Slides presentation. Instead, you will click the green “Start Lesson” icon that is located at the top of the Pear Deck toolbar.

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Upon clicking the icon, you will be given two options for how the Google Slides presentation will be presented. The student-paced option allows students to complete the interactive presentation on their own and at their own pace. The instructor-paced option allows you to control the pace of the interactive presentation while students work. The instructor-paced option is best if each student has their own laptop or tablet and can work as you move through the information.

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Students will need to be logged into their Google account to access the interactive presentation. Then, they will go to http://www.joinpd.com and enter the code provided by Pear Deck. To take a look at what the interactive presentation looks like in teacher view compared to student view, check out the video at the top of this blog post. The video will also provide detailed information about how to track student progress.

Conclusion

Going through a slideshow presentation can be boring for students when they are stuck just watching the screen as a teacher talks, but creating interactive activities for presentations is a great way to catch and hold students’ attention. When it comes to creating interactive Google Slides, Pear Deck is one of the easiest options for creating interactive activities and tracking student progress. Using the Pear Deck template library also provides beautiful templates that will help to engage your students even more. Whether teaching remotely or in a classroom, I hope you enjoy using Pear Deck with your class!

Are you looking for even more tips and strategies for how to effectively use technology to teach? Download my FREE guide all about the best practices for using technology in the classroom!

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