Plickers – Guest Post

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Guest Blogger: David Lockhart

I am a lucky man. I get to give you guys an overview of an awesome tool called Plickers. It may not be the most complex technology out there, but it gives teachers a way to do quick and easy assessments even if they are in a classroom that is not overrun by technology resources. It also effectively kills the need for student response remotes. If you have purchasing power and you are looking at student response remotes, you may want to consider this tool first.

The basic idea behind Plickers is to replace  electronic student response remotes with a card. For several years, teachers have been able to give multiple choice assessments with tools that look like remote controls. The students answer the questions by pressing the corresponding letter, and that letter registers with a connected software program that automatically grades it. These remotes bring several problems, though: they are expensive, they are bulky, and the break easy just to name a few.

Plickers looks to solve that issue by trading out student response remotes for a card with what looks like a QR code on it. In the middle of each side of the QR code is A, B, C, and D. Students then hold up the card with whatever answer choice they have made on top. The teacher gathers responses by taking their iPhone app, opening what amounts to the camera screen through the app, and scanning the room. The app then registers each student’s response and provides the teacher immediate data. If the teacher wants identifying data for student responses, all the need to do is assign each student a number which can be found in the corner of every card. ¬†This process makes it a drastically superior solution to all of the headaches that come with the remotes.

One of the best parts of Plickers is the fact that you get all of this functionality and you don’t have to create another document or presentation to display questions for students. If you have the Live View portion of the website open why you deliver questions, they will automatically display as you choose questions within the app. It means that as a teacher all you have to worry about is working the app.

The actual response portion of the app works very well, but what about the Plickers site and the question creation part? It’s very effective as well! In order to ensure automatic grading of questions, it is easy to create questions on their site within their question library. Unlike many assessment sites, you build libraries of questions out instead of single assessments. You can then assign questions to a question queue to have them set up for the actual assessment you measure students on. This allows you as a teacher to build multiple assessments without having to rewrite questions. It makes Plickers a great tool for things like student reviews. There is some capability to add questions directly on the app, but the better experience is on the Plickers website.

The Plickers website also gives you the ability to create classess. This ability has two functions: make the queue process easier and allow you to permanently assign card numbers to students. It makes the queue process easy because each class can be used as a queue. You can also save names to each number so that each student has the same number each time and the student’s name shows up on the data report. If you are going to permanently save numbers, an effective way for students to get the cards each day maybe to purchase a door hanging shoe holder and using each slot to place the card in.

Overall, I think Plickers is one of those tools that is an easy entry point for almost any teacher. The app is easy to understand and provides a service that every teacher needs with simplified assessments. The best part though is that it only requires the teacher’s device.

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