Mr. Kamrowski

"Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children." –Sitting Bull

App Tested: Pear Deck vs. Nearpod

20 Comments

Description

With the popularity of one-to-one classrooms, and the ensuing demonizing of the lecture as a pedagogical method, software to make lectures/direct instruction more interactive have developed.  Pear Deck and Nearpod are the two software companies that have become popular in this field (You can watch their promotional/informational advertisements here and here).  Both of these apps allow a teacher to embed formative assessments, engaging activities, and teacher analytics into a slide deck.  The days of using just powerpoint, keynote, or google slides are over.

In the last few months of the 2014-15 school year, I tested the paid version of Pear Deck in my one-to-one iPad classes.   I used the premium version as a free trial.  This summer, I played with Nearpod to compare the two.  In the fall, I would like to select one of the free versions of the two as my go to software to make slide decks interactive.  The following is what I learned. 

Analysis

When I break down the features of the two apps, it is a difficult choice to make.  Lets look at a few key points in each category:

Price

Both have a free and paid version.  The prices are quite comparable; about $12 for a monthly subscription or $100 for a year subscription.  Click/Tap the images below to enlarge.

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 9.12.30 PM        Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 9.09.51 PM

Being a thrifty educator, I am most curious about the features offered in the free editions.  Thus, breaking down feature comparisons will be helpful for me to make my decision.

Creating Slide Decks

Again, the two apps are similiar when it comes to slide deck creations. Both allow for creation within the app and if you have current slide decks you would like to import, you can do so. The main difference is Nearpod allows for importation for free and Pear Deck offers this as a paid version. However, I quickly found a workaround to this with Pear Deck. On my Mac, I simpily export my presentations as PDF files (You can do this with powerpoint, keynote, and google slides), run an automator that converts PDFs to image files (See instructions for this at the following blog post.), and upload the individual image files to each slide in Pear Deck. It works well and I am certain there is a similiar work around for Windows and Chrome users.

Nearpod offers more options for importation from the cloud by connecting to all the major storage companies:  Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box.  Pear Deck, on the other hand, is only connected to Google Drive.  This, however, is not a big deal for me.  Google Drive Edu offers unlimited storage, at this point in time, and all of my materials have pretty much been transfered to my G-Drive.  With the free version of Pear Deck, however, I am going to be doing my PDF export, automator workflow no matter what cloud storage I am using.

Interactive Elements in Slides

The two apps diverge slightly when it comes to interactive elements that can be inserted into the slide. For instance, both allow for embedded YouTube videos, but Nearpod offers it as a paid feature where it is free for Pear Deck. Pear Deck allows you to insert webpages (Not images of webpages, but the actual webpage) as a free feature and Nearpod includes it in its paid version. They both allow for multiple choice, free response, write numbers, and polling options as a free feature. However, for a paid feature, Pear Deck allows drawing on images and draging dots over images (This is kind of a fun feature. For example, you could ask students to locate on a world map a country and they would be able to see the dots of everyone’s guess.) Nearpod has the drawing as a free feature but does not have, in any form, the dragable dot feature. On the otherhand, Nearpod offers fill in the blank and matching as a paid feature.

Storage

Pear Deck, for me, pulls away in this category. It is tightly integrated with Google and stores all your Pear Decks in Google Drive. That means I have unlimited space for Pear Decks. Nearpod, on the other hand, limits your space to 50 mb for the free version and 3 GB for the paid version. I assume that if I do the paid version one year and go over my 50 mb storage that if I opt for the free version the next year I will lose some of my Nearpods (Someone please correct me if I am wrong on this thought.).

Analytics

Both of these apps allow for live analyitics (Immediate information for the teacher as the lecture is occurring.) and reports that can be exported and analyized. Nearpod allows live analyitics for free where Pear Deck has it as a paid option. While I was conduting my trial with Pear Deck, I found this feature to be incrediabily useful and will miss it in the free version. However, Pear Deck has much better features for reporting after the session has ended. It allows for exporting to Google Sheets and PDF. The Google Sheets allows you to use the power of Google’s “Add On” feature like Flubaroo (See this cool feature in use here.). Nearpod only allows for PDF in the free version.

Extras

Both apps have some extra features that are interesting.  For instance, in Pear Deck I can do the neat Flubaroo trick (I like this a lot.) and I can ask a quick question–say I think of something on the fly, I can simply click on the quick question function and have my students submit a response in multiple formats–even some draw and drag functions are available in the free edition.

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 1.23.33 PM

Nearpod has a nifty store where you can purchase pre-made Nearpods.  Purchasing pre-made materials is something I rarely do.  However, they offer free ones from time to time that I would snag up and learn from to try to improve my Nearpod skills.  Finally, Nearpod has the ability, in the paid version, to share the Nearpod before/after the live session as a link or embed.  Nearpod calls this “Homework” and it is a nice feature for students who are gone the day of the live session.  Click here for an example (Feel free to answer the questions as this is something I am working on for a future post.)

Side by Side Comparison

If you are unable to view the google sheet below, follow this link.

 Concluding Thoughts

Both apps are wonderful tools to spice up the lecture format.  They allow a teacher to engage students with multitouch activities while bringing formative assessment into one program.  The tight Google integration of Pear Deck (They recently have integrated with Google Classroom.  I am not a user of that LMS so did not talk much about it.) is an attractive feature.  Everything is stored in my Google Drive and seemingly limitless.  Furthermore, free embeds of YouTube videos, the Flubaroo trick, and the quick question feature swing me towards the Pear Deck side.  However, I really like the Nearpod “Homework” feature.  If Pear Deck offered something similar to the “Homework” feature in their paid version, I might even consider shelling out some money.  Until that happens, I will use both of these tools depending on my objectives.

Question:  Have you used these apps before?  If so, do you have a preference?  What do you like about them?  What am I missing?  As always, thank you for sharing your thoughts and questions in the comment section.

Advertisements

Author: Rob Kamrowski

My name is Rob Kamrowski and I have been a high school social study teacher of some years. Recently, I have accepted a position as an 8th grade American History teacher. I have taught a range of subjects from American History to Personal Finance to AP European History. I earned my Bachelor Degree in 2003, my Masters Degree in 2008, and strive to earn the respect of my students, colleagues and family every day of every year

20 thoughts on “App Tested: Pear Deck vs. Nearpod

  1. Hi Rob –
    Thanks for the comparison, it was just what I was looking for! I haven’t played with Pear Deck yet, but I have explored Nearpod a little. In Nearpod, I really liked the ability to monitor who was actively connected to the presentation with the green icon at the top – and how it changed to red when someone dropped out. Does Pear Deck have anything like this? Thanks again! Renee

    Like

    • Hi Renee, and thanks for the kind words. In response to your question, the answer is yes. In the free version you are able to see how many students are “logged in” to the Pear Deck. If a student drops out, it will show one less student. I simply knew the number of students I had in class and made sure the number of students stayed at that level. In the paid version, you can actually get a teacher view that shows you every student’s screen. It is really kind of neat. Here is a screen shot of such an example.

      Like

    • Yes pear deck has multiple options for easily seeing who is connected

      Like

  2. Rob, Thank you so much for this. I just Googled [nearpod vs pear deck] and found your blog! I am moving from a 1:1 Chromebook school to an iPad school. I too played with the pear deck free trial last year and really liked it.

    As a math teacher, I am mostly excited about going to iPads (even though I live in a Google world) so that students can write out their work on the iPad. If you focused only on the write on slide portion would you prefer one over the other?

    Thanks so much for your help with this!
    Bethany

    Like

    • Hi Bethany, I am glad you found the post useful. As for your question, if the most important part is the drawing, I would suggest Nearpod since it is a free feature. However, I would urge you to take a look at an app called Class Kick too. I have not tested this app yet, but it looks like it might work for your purposes. Let me know your thoughts.

      Like

  3. You have an amazing blog here! I wish that Pear Deck had a homework feature, too–that’s the one thing I like about Nearpod. But as you pointed out, the storage and Google integration is too, too good to pass up. Great post!

    Like

  4. Great blog. No IOS app currently is a deal breaker. I couldn’t believe it and just spent fifteen minutes searching before finally conceding it doesn’t exist. So, Nearpod wins 🙂

    Like

    • While this may be true, all my students have iPads and using Pear Deck in the browser is just as effective as the Nearpod App.

      Like

  5. Question…Is there any site to find pre-made Pear Deck presentations like I can find for Nearpod – both free and paid?

    Thanks.

    Like

  6. Thank you for this comparison! I’m still a little confused about immediate analytics vs. reporting in peardeck. If I used the free version of peardeck, would I be able to view students written responses and/or multiple choice responses? I would be able to download a ‘report’ and grade/analyze a PDF export? Thanks for your help!

    Like

    • Hi Molly,
      You will receive immediate analytics, with the free version, on the screen as the presentation is being conducted. Reviewing these analytics within the presentation in the future is a premium option. However, you can “export” analytics, which will open up as a google sheet, and review and correct student responses that way. Let me know if I need to further clarify my answer. Thank you for the question.

      Like

  7. Reblogged this on Fishing for the Future and commented:
    An amazing comparison between Nearpod and Peardeck!

    Like

  8. Pingback: Peardeck might be better than Nearpod? | Fishing for the Future

  9. Hi Rob, this is a great post. PearDeck now has the take away feature. Have you tried this and does that tip the scale?

    Like

    • I have not! I have to update this post. Nearpod has also added some features that a reader has told me about. Thanks for sharing.

      Like

  10. Hey Rob the thing I like about pear deck is the ability to show a picture while asking a question about it or a comprehension text the class is studying and have students create questions to a picture on the projector. Does near pod offer something similar or is it just a dual display of what is on the main screen? Thanks great comparison.

    Like

  11. Pingback: Improving the Lecture? | A Teacher's Reflections

  12. Rob- Pear Deck does have a feature for students to work outside of class. It’s called putting it in “student paced” mode. you can leave the session, but it can still be running. If you want to make it available to students who are absent, you can run the pear deck with a new code, set it to “student-paced” and then provide the code to your students.
    In reference to knowing who is logged in: if you connect to google classroom and have your class in there, you can invite a class on Pear Deck. You can tell who has logged on and who has not.
    It also has an option to have students check in on how they are feeling that day. It’s nice to know if someone is having a rough day.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s