Assessing or Brainstorming?

Sometimes you need to assess student knowledge and sometimes you want to start a discussion or encourage students to think creatively without restricting their thoughts with fear of being wrong.  Here are some tips for getting the most out of your Pear Deck tools depending on what you want to accomplish.

Text Responses


When you want to assess student knowledge and get a quick check on whether they know it or don’t, give students a short-answer input.  This give students the visual cue that you are just looking for a word or two.

When you scroll through their answers on the Teacher Dashboard (or on the Projector View), you can quickly see aberrant ones.

Brainstorm or Discuss

For getting students thinking more creatively, give them the paragraph answer input.  This gives a visual cue that you are looking for a longer, more thought-out response.  

You can also encourage students to enter multiple responses, like a brainstorm. On the Teacher Dashboard you can quickly find multiple answers from the same student

Numerical Questions


When you just want to see if students can do the problem and get the right answer, display number responses as a list.  Now you can easily see any incorrect answers that need to be discussed.
 You can also click “Sort by response” to quickly group disparate answers.


When you want students to estimate (or when there is a range of possible answers), display answers as an overlay.  This way you can quickly see the range of all guesses, see the outliers, and the median.

Showing Work and Thought Process

If you want to better understand your students’ thought processes as they puzzle through a problem, you can use a Drawing Question and give students a blank canvas.  This way they can use Pear Deck like a scratch pad.  I recommend setting a quick guideline for students to put their final answer in a box at the bottom corner of the canvas.



There are several ways to ask closed-ended questions with a Drawing Slide that can be more fun than a Multiple Choice question.  For example, you can upload a diagram for students to label.  Or in a text document, you can type a list of terms and a list of definitions. Take a screenshot of the terms and upload it to a Pear Deck Drawing Slide. Now students can do a matching question by drawing lines between the term and the correct definition.  

Open Interpretation

When you want students to interpret the meaning of a book they read or describe a concept, you can give them a Drawing Slide with a blank canvas to set their creative minds loose.



You can use Draggables(™) to assess student knowledge when you want them to indicate something specific. For example, you can choose a map as your canvas and ask students to drag a pin to a particular country or region.  Or maybe you ask them to drag a dot to the liver on an image of a human body.


You can also use Draggables(™) to ask open-ended questions.  For example “Drag the dot to the best place on this city map for a bus stop” or “as you look at his image of a person running, drag your dot to the parts of their body where you think they might experience the most stress.”  There are multiple possible correct answers and the purpose of these questions is to get students discussing different opinions, what they know so far, or what additional questions they’d like to unpack.

Multiple Choice


When you want to assess students with a Multiple Choice question, make sure there is one correct answer.  When you are looking at their responses, you might want to display the answers as a list so you can quickly see who picked what. You can “sort by: response” to quickly group students by which answer they picked. That way, you’ll see an easy list of all the students who, for example, picked the incorrect answer of “B.”  


You can also use Multiple Choice Questions to get students discussing and thinking more critically.  Try creating multiple defensible answer options.  As students respond, display answers as an overlay so you can see the “votes” for each answer option.  You can hover over the bars if you want to see who voted for a particular option.  Then ask students to make arguments for their choice. If you want, you can add a Quick Question: Text Response to give students quiet thinking time to articulate their ideas.

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