Monday, October 27, 2014

Throw Out Those Clickers and Use Plickers!

Are you tired of having to change the batteries in your clickers or having to fork out thousands of dollars for interactive response systems? Are you getting frustrated with hooking up cords to your computer or waiting for students to logon to a personal device for assessment?  Well, let Plickers help make your formative assessment in your classroom a breeze with absolutely no cost to you.

I have been using Plickers in my classroom for about a month now and the students get very excited about bringing out their Plicker cards and "showing what they know".  It is a fantastic way of gathering formative assessment to guide your teaching and student learning.  I encourage you to give Plickers a try.  You and your students will be glad you did!

What are Plickers? 
Plickers is an app that can be downloaded onto an Android or iOS device.  With only one device and some printed cards, teachers can quickly assess or poll their students by asking multiple choice or true/false questions.  The students hold up their cards a certain way (see below) to submit their answers while the teachers stands at the front and scans the class therefore receiving their responses.

Why use Plickers?

  • easy to use and setup
  • completely free (except for printing the cards)
  • excellent formative assessment tool or for polling students
  • students love it! (speaking from experience)
  • inclusive for all - no personal or electronic devices needed for students (only one teacher device)
  • no batteries to replace or expensive equipment to purchase

What do I need for Plickers? 
  • 1 Electronic Wifi device with the Plickers app installed (Android or iOS)
  • 1 Plicker card for each student in your class (Plicker Cards)
  • 1 projecting device for questions (although you could have questions printed or written on the board)
  • registration for a free account on Plickers.com
How do Plickers work?
  1. Create a class on your Plickers account (each student you add gets a Plicker card assigned to them).
  2. Create questions from the "Library" tab on your account and assign these questions to your class plan.  You can have multiple classes and the questions can be assigned to each class.
  3. Print out student Plicker cards, cut them out, and hand to the assigned student.  Each card has a number which corresponds to the student that you added when creating a class.
  4. Log into your computer and your device from the Plickers.com website.  Click on "Live Class" from your computer and choose the question you would like to ask from your device.
  5. The question will be displayed from the projector and the students hold up their card a specific way to show their answer (more on that in the "How do students answer?" section)
  6. The teacher then clicks on the "camera" image on their mobile device and then scans the classroom.  As the teacher scans the classroom, the camera recognizes the student's answers and records them.  The students will also see on the screen that their card has been scanned by having a check mark beside their name.
  7. The teacher can then share the results on the screen with the students in the form of a bar graph.
The following quick video shows how the teacher collects responses. 


How do students use the paper clickers?

The Plicker cards are really simple and easy to use. You can download the Plicker cards here.  Take a look at the Plicker card below.


Tips for Plicker cards
  • Plicker cards can be used for multiple classes.
  • Print the clicker cards on card stock or glue them onto heavy cardboard.
  • If you laminate the cards, use a matte film as it could be difficult for the mobile device to scan the card due to glare.
  • Train your students to hold the cards straight up and down and not diagonal.  They should also be taught not to bend the cards or have their fingers in front of the image as the mobile device will not be able to read it.
  • Paste the card on both sides so the student does not have to look at the front of the card.
  • I put Velcro on the Plicker cards so the students can attach them to the front of their desk and easily find them when needed.
  • Teach your students to ensure that nobody is blocking their card.
Here is what my classroom Plicker cards look like.
Printed on very heavy card stock
Attached with Velcro on front of desk

How do I create classes and add students?

Please watch the very short video tutorial I created showing how you can easily create classes and add students.




How do I add questions?

Below is a quick tutorial showing how to create questions and then assign them to a class or classes.


Give Plickers a try in your classroom and let us know how it went in the comment section below.