How I Use It
Plickers is a low-tech quick way to assess student learning using printed cards that are specific to each student. Students "buzz-in" with their plicker (paper+clicker) while the teacher uses an iPad or iPhone camera to scan the room and collect their answers. The results are instantaneous. The kids love it, because it feels like a game.
I pre-enter the assessment questions, and assign them to specific classes. Classes are set up separately in just a few minutes. When I am ready to administer an assessment, I pass out the Plicker cards, making sure that each student has the numbered card that is assigned to them. I login to the Plickers webpage through my teacher workstation and project it to the classroom. When switched to "live-view" I can choose a question to project using the Plickers app on my phone. After projecting the question, I typically read the question to the class along with the answer choices. I then scan the room to retrieve student responses. Students can follow along on the board to make sure that their response was received by looking for the check next to their name. After all students have answered, I use the graph feature to display how the class answered. Then, I wait a few seconds, before revealing the correct answer (often to cheers and sometimes groans).
It is definitely an engaging way to check for understanding that my student's always enjoy.
I use Plickers for quick assessments at the end of lessons, as well as for longer end of unit assessments. It allows me to enter in all of my questions by lesson and organize them in files by unit and grade level. I teach the same units every year and can use the same questions over and over.
Classes are easy to set up. You just have to assign each student a number. I see all classes in my K-5 school. I have had success using Plickers with grades 3-5. I have been using the same set of paper Plicker cards for all of my classes going on three years now.
Other teachers in my PLC use the same assessment method and we use the built-in reports feature to compare our data. The scoresheet feature enables you to print a beautifully laid out color-coded spreadsheet listing student percentage, as well as the results of each question. You can also export scores to a .csv spreadsheet or print individual reports for each student. A question history report lets you know which classes you have used each question with and how they answered. I use that to compare pre and post-test scores.
Overall, Plickers is a very useful tool. It is easy to use, free and highly accessible. There are just a few drawbacks. First, questions are limited to True/False or up to four multiple choice answers. I sometimes just have to find creative ways to word my questions to make them fit this format. The only other thing that I don't like is that it can be time consuming for me to create spreadsheets to compare data across an entire grade-level, especially when I am comparing pre- and post-assessment scores.
The Plickers website has a ton of resources to walk you through any questions you may have. They even have a presentation kit with downloadable files (slide show!) to share with your colleagues.
Give Plickers a try. Your students will thank you for it.