News

Focus on Faculty: Todd Cherner
Author: Office of Academic Innovation
Posted: December 12, 2017

Todd Cherner teaches with Pear Deck

THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT?


ASSISTANT PROFESSOR TODD CHERNER SHARES HIS TIPS
ON ENGAGING STUDENTS IN HIS CLASS WITH THE HELP
OF THE GOOGLE APPS MARKETPLACE

 

Actively soliciting student input during the class period, presenting lectures interactively, giving students anonymous representation in the classroom, these are a just a few of the benefits of Assistant Professor Todd Cherner’s use of Google apps in his classroom. “If you’re using face to face instruction using powerpoint slides, there’s a way to ensure the students are focused on the content you’re delivering,” says Professor Cherner, who specialize in literacy and instructional technology at the Graduate School of Education, preparing preservice teachers to use instructional technology in their future teaching.

“I think people should be open to some of these collaborative ideas. Pear Deck a simple thing to do, and it adds so much engagement.”

Cherner points to Pear Deck, an app he found while browsing the Google App Marketplace, that allows him to combine his Powerpoints or Google Slides with questions for his students to answer in real time in the classroom. When he gives lectures, he can share his presentation screen on his students' computers, and as they answer multiple choice or short answer questions, their responses show up on his screen in real time. Beyond students paying attention or answering questions, Cherner adds, there’s a unique benefit to showing live data during discussions: “I was just talking about climate change in my class as an example topic, i.e. ‘is climate change natural or man-made.’  I have my opinion about this, as I’m sure everyone does. Because students can log their opinion on a topic in real time through Pear Deck, we can get into a point-counterpoint discussion in class, and as students make their different points in the room, their fellow students can switch their votes about the topic.”

Todd Cherner teaches his students with the help of apps from the Google Apps Marketplace

Pear Deck is also anonymous, allowing students to change their votes, log short answers to questions, and engage in the class in a new way, giving those who may not want to speak in class a voice: “I think people should be open to some of these collaborative ideas. Pear Deck is a simple thing to do, and it adds so much engagement,” says Cherner.
 

EXPLORE THE GOOGLE APPS MARKETPLACE
 

Every instructor at PSU has access to these free apps for the Google Drive, and they are useful for all kinds of teaching needs.

Professor Cherner has been using Google apps like Pear Deck in his classroom with excellent results. He finds these technologies in the Google Apps Marketplace, which offers hundreds of apps already configured for a teacher’s Google Drive. Every instructor at PSU has access to these free apps, and they are useful for all kinds of teaching needs, but most instructors may not know they exist. “When you talk about Google apps, there’s this misnomer that these are Android apps or apps for the smartphone,” agrees Cherner, “ but Google apps are specifically for Google Drive. There are hundreds of third party apps that you can use. There are mindmapping maps, PDF readers, annotation apps. If you need an app to do something, there’s probably already one there that does it.”

Interested in learning more about Todd Cherner’s work with Education technologies? Visit his site, App Ed Review, to find other tech tips you might be able to use in your own teaching. And don't hesitate to reach out to OAI staff at the Faculty Support Desk with questions about technologies you can use in the classroom.

 

Google
GET STARTED WITH THE
GOOGLE APPS MARKETPLACE

Questions? Ideas? We're always here to help. Stop by OAI and visit the Faculty Support Desk.
We also hope you’ll take a moment to explore the Google Apps Marketplace, and maybe even
take up Todd on his recommendation for Pear Deck, and give it a whirl
the next time you’re giving a presentation.