I "Peardecked" Today- 5/15/2020
The past two weeks, I have been giving my all to my colleagues as we finally get into the groove of distance learning. As a tech coach, I wanted to offer my colleagues choices in professional learning opportunities, while also highlighting some "high impact" technology tools. My admin team and I decided to select just a few choice tools that would enhance either synchronous or asynchronous instruction, so we chose Pear Deck, EdPuzzle, Wixie and Flipgrid.
Throughout these past two weeks, I have been offering optional learning opportunities to staff on these program. In addition, I have been having virtual office hours where I am available to help my colleagues navigate through any distance learning hurdles or technology questions. Lastly, I have been going into class' synchronous sessions and modeling how to use Pear Deck.
It has been such an amazing experience sharing these tools with my colleagues. I shared in prior weeks' blog posts how so many of my colleagues had taken what they learned from our Flipgrid learning experiences and added them as ways to connect and engage with students. This week, another technology tool appeared to take center stage and I could not be more excited about it. In fact, it was so impactful, one of my colleagues made a verb out of it!
Thursday morning, I received several emails that lit me up inside. Last week, I discussed three questions that I am using daily to frame my gratitude. When I received these emails, I knew that not only had I inspired their senders, but needed to share in my blog the positive influence these colleagues were having on me.
The first email I received was from one of my fifth grade teachers. This teacher self proclaims herself as technogically adjacent and struggles using technology. I was so excited when I saw her join my Pear Deck learning opportunity Wednesday morning. I knew she was taking a risk and I was so glad that she had taken time to join me. Imagine my delight this am when I read her email. She peardecked this am!
I was so excited. Many times after a training, new skills learned can sit stagnant. But less than 24 hours later, this teacher had put them into action and shared her victory moment with me. Next week, I am going in to model using Pear Deck in her class session. How awesome is it that her students will have already "peardecked" before this time.
The second email caught me by surprise. It was from one of our art teachers who hadn't attended any of my Pear Deck trainings YET! She had visited Mrs. Biberaj's class today. Mrs. Biberaj is one of my fourth grade teachers. I had modeled the use of Pear Deck Wednesday in her classroom with her students. Once again less than 24 hours after this session, Mrs. Biberaj created her own Pear Deck lesson and shared it with her students.
I emailed Mrs. Biberaj to share how she had inspired our art teacher and to ask her how it went. She shared that it went sooo well and wondered if she could stop by office hours to ask a few follow up questions. Of course, I replied yes. I can't wait to guide her through these follow up questions and see where she leads her class next.
I also emailed our art teacher, Mrs. Reese, back. I wanted her to know how excited I was that she would be joining me next Tuesday for our next Pear Deck training. Imagine the possibilities of "peardecking" in an art class.
Mrs. Biberaj shared with me how she had each student draw Ms. Reese a picture with a message about art class. It truly touched my heart when I viewed what they shared on their drawing slides.
The third email I received was from one of our special education teachers. Ms. Yang shared that she was planning on "peardecking" a lesson about social skills with her students. She also attended the Pear Deck session I offered Wednesday. She was so excited to engage her students in some of the perspective taking slides.
On Wednesday, April 29th, I completed my regional Pear Deck coach training. I am so proud to add this certification to my technology toolbox. Adding certifications is not just something I do to add to my signature. For me, it demonstrates my commitment to tools that put students and teachers first. Tools that listen to teacher and student feedback and work tirelessly to make learning interactive and give students a voice in their learning.
Pear Deck does that. With recent additions such as Immersive Reader capabilities and the ability to add audio, they show how they value feedback. I am proud to share my Pear Deck love with other educators and let them see how in difficult and unprecedented times like these, this tool can connect our students and give every student a chance to share their voices during both synchronous and asynchronous instruction.
I am so grateful to Michelle Meshover, the tech coach at Cardinal Forest Elementary and a fellow regional VA Pear Deck coach for inviting me to a Pear Deck session last summer where I met Robert Yoo, who works for Pear Deck and has been a wonderful resource as I share the pear with others. A special thank you as well to Risa Bennett, for her support as she led our virtual cohort through our training.