Peardeck for Distance Learning in the Music Room

Peardeck for distance learning in the music room: Ideas for using this free Google Slides add-on to have students engage with the lesson and give feedback

Looking for a simple way to have students engage and interact with distance learning? In this blog post, I’m detailing how to use Peardeck, a free Google Slides add-on, to create slides and assign a homework link to share with students. If you’re a visual learner, scroll to the bottom of this post for a tutorial.

What is Peardeck?

Peardeck is a free Google Slides add-on. Typically, it is used in a whole-group situation, in which students are on 1:1 Chromebooks and can engage in real-time with the teacher with the material. However, it works well in a distance learning situation, because you can assign a homework link and share it with students!

Please note that there are two levels of Peardeck—free and premium. With free, you still have access to quite a bit, and from what I can tell, you can use the drawing and draggable templates, but can't make your own. You might ask the technology department in your district if you already have premium access. Click this link to get access during the COVID-19 crisis.

What Can you Do with Peardeck?

There are so many possibilities! You can do everything from ask students what they wonder about something in the lesson, what they know about a concept, or what emotions a piece of music evokes with a text slide, choose an answer with a multiple choice slide, or draw a rhythm pattern with a drawable slide! See the video below for more examples.

How Can I Share with students?

Once you have created the slides, you can click “present lesson,” then exit out of the window that pops up (that gives the link to joinpd.com) and go to the three dots, then choose “student-paced lesson.” It’ll give you a link you can share with your students.

I’m giving students a lesson in Google Slides first, using these free templates:

In this lesson, my fourth graders will see an intro slide:

Then a directions slide:

Then will watch two videos, including this one of me presenting syncopa:

Then, students will click the link to be taken to Peardeck, where they will do these slides:

Once I’ve assigned the work, I can keep an eye on it by going to the three lines next to “present lesson,” and choosing “review sessions.” You may want to have a slide with asking for their name and classroom teacher. You can require student logins (by going to the three lines and choosing “require student logins”) but I think in this situation, students may be logged in with their parent’s or sibling’s email account, so it’s good to have the back-up of asking for their names and classroom teachers as well.

Here is the video tutorial:

I hope this has been helpful to you as you navigate distance learning! If you haven’t already done so, check out these posts about distance learning:

Feel free to ask questions below, and happy (online) teaching!

8 Responses

  1. I would love to do something like this for my band classes. Our PD’s use this and other teachers are using it but I have no idea how to get started.

    1. I have! I’ve had a slide with an embedded video of me teaching, and then I follow it with a Peardeck slide that students have to interact with. It has worked well!

  2. Wow, thank you so much for sharing this! I can’t wait to use Pear Deck in my slides with my music students. I so appreciate this video and your fantastic explanations!! Thank you!

  3. What have you found more effective for teaching music: Pear Deck or Nearpod? I know you have played around with both.

    1. I love both, but am using Nearpod a lot more than Peardeck this year. I am 100% virtual for the whole year, and love that Nearpod can house entire lessons!

  4. When you get the submissions on the pear deck how do you know which responses belong to which student?

    1. Hi Kim! When they do the Peardeck, they have to log in, so you should be able to see who said which answer. I do usually add a “name and classroom teacher” slide, in case they log in with their parent’s or sibling’s email address.

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