When I first discovered Plickers, I was hesitant to try them. I looked at the website and the requirements and thought that it would be more work for me and the kids would not appreciate their value. While I do not admit it often, I was wrong. Plickers has helped me quickly assess what my students know and do not know and allows me to quickly correct or explain concepts again. Plus, I can reuse questions and it keeps all the data for me (Hello, UOI Data!)! Read on to learn more about this great, formative assessment that needs very little technology to work!
What is Plickers?
Plickers is a formative assessment tool that assigns each student a QR Code that can be read by a QR reader app on your cell phone or tablet. Each QR code is unique to the student and can be turned in four different directions to submit one of four possible answers. Answers must be multiple choice but can have anywhere from 2-4 answer options to choose from.
How do I get started using Plickers?
Before you start, you need two things – 1) a smart phone or tablet with a rear-facing camera and 2) QR codes for each student. You will need to create an account on the Plickers website and download the app on your phone. Once the account is created, create a class for your students. If you teach an elementary class, one class should be fine. If you teach high school, I would suggest one class per each hour.
From there you will need to print of a set of QR codes and create a roster for each class that assigns each student a numbered card. I only have 44 students in World History, so I used the QR Card set of 63 that way I did not have to worry about duplicating card numbers within a class. The website suggests laminating the cards using a matte laminate. We only have glossy at my school, so that is what I used. I have also found it extremely helpful if students have a clear binder cover. Students can slip their cards in there and that means they are not being crinkled or bent up. I have very little problems scanning even the glossy laminate, so if a clear binder pocket is not an option, try that.
Once you have the cards and rosters ready, you will need to create the questions in your library. I have found it helpful to create topic folders and file the questions in there so that I can easily navigate to the questions I need. Once the questions are created, you can add them to the class queue so that they are ready to be used.
Last step, click Live View on the website and make sure your SmartBoard is on. Then open up your Plickers app on your phone or tablet and select the class you are working with. Then click the question you want to ask. The question will appear on your SmartBoard, the students will answer it based on how they turn their QR Codes. You hit the camera button in the app and scan the cards as students hold them up. You do not need to be right next to them! I do this from my desk and it gets all of the students in my room! After everyone’s card has been scanned, click the check mark at the bottom of your screen and then you can show the results on the board and discuss as needed!
You also have a chance to look back at reports and use the data as necessary. Anything my classes’ score below an 80% on, I make sure to clarify and give them the question again later. I plan to use some of this data as my formative assessment data for our Unit of Instruction.
Don’t be shy, give it a try! Let me know if you need some help to get started!