Individualize Student Learning with the Aid of Easy to Make and use “Paper Clickers”!
Data is an essential component in education, yet sometimes it can be viewed as a necessary evil for educators. In the past, a teacher may teach a lesson and require students to complete an exit ticket assessment activity to show mastery of the concept(s) reviewed over a certain time frame. Passing out the materials and grading individual student responses can be a time consuming task.
As the year goes on a teacher’s attitude toward data collection may change and decline as assessment becomes more overwhelming. Fortunately, today's technology provides useful tools for educators to gather, analyze, and save data in record time. One such tool is enabled through the tablet and smartphone, but does not require students to have any technology, making it essentially free. What tool is that? Plickers!
What is a Plicker?
In my classroom, students’ desks are grouped in pods to allow collaboration during activities. In the middle of each pod is a basket that holds a variety of student materials. One of the most recent additions to the basket is Plickers. A Plicker is an image similar to a QR code on a piece of paper that can be scanned by a tablet or smart phone. How does the app recognize the student responses? Depending on which way a student holds the plicker image determines the response to a question you create within the app or plickers website. Below, I have created a step-by-step guide to walk you through the website and app.
First, here is the website for downloading this must-have app to your device: https://www.plickers.com/.
Steps For Integrating Plickers:
- Go on the website and create a teacher account on plickers.com.
- Choose the tab labeled classes at the top of the page and type in your class roster. It will assign all your students to an individual plicker. You can add additional classes and students later as well.
- Choose the tab on the website labeled cards to print out the students plickers. I strongly suggest printing the cards on cardstock so that they are more durable. Also, I do not suggest laminating the plickers because it will be hard for the tablet or smart phone device to recognize the cards due to glare. Plickers are printed in sets of two to a page, so you will need to cut the page in half. If you teach at the elementary level, I suggest adding the child’s name and the multiple choice letters on the back of the plicker so that students can easily identify their answer.
- Choose the library tab to create questions. Responses can be either in multiple choice or true/false format. Select the correct response(s) for each question and click the tab labeled add to plan below each question to attach it to the appropriate class you have already created.
- If you have a computer connected to a smart board, projector, or apple tv in your classroom and are connected into your plickers account. Then, select the live view tab on the website to display the question and answer choices for the students. Beside the question will appear a full screen tab and another small button with an arrow that allows you to hide the response panel.
- When students are holding up their plickers to answer a question, you will need to take your smart device, choose the plickers app, select the question you wish to use and scan the room by selecting the camera button which will appear at the bottom of the screen. You will see the name of the child and their individual response for each question selected located at the top of your screen on the smart device when their response has been scanned. Also, a bar graph will appear so you can view the whole group data as well. The number of participates scanned is also provided to make certain that all students have responded.
Here is a excellent tutorial video by Blair Lambert to walk you through the Plickers website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zye3fyKl65c.
Overall, I have had a wonderful experience using this app in my classroom. The developers have done a great job updating the website and app to make it easy to use and navigate for educators. Students now use their Plickers for formal and informal assessment activities in my classroom regularly. I believe that I can now truly individualize student learning because I have quick data accessible at a moment's notice to ensure students have truly mastered the material reviewed.
CC licensed image source: http://www.superbelfrzy.edu.pl/pomyslodajnia/magiczne-wzorki-czyli-plickers/