Monday, December 7, 2015

Plickers ~ Quick and Easy Formative Assessment

Plickers, which stands for “paper clickers,” are an easy, technology enhanced way to quickly gather formative assessment data from your students without requiring a student device. Students utilize a specially designed card, much like a QR code, that is assigned specifically to each student to provide their answers in the form of a multiple choice responses (A, B, C, D) to the teacher who scans the responses with an iDevice or Android device. Data from the students is instantly available on the teacher device and can be displayed to students through the Plickers website where the data is also stored for review purposes. As a teacher, you can easily gather formative data from your students, for free, using this powerful tool, here’s how…

How To Get Started

Getting started with Plickers is a quick and easy process. In order to get started you first need to download the Plickers App to your device. You can download the apps using the links below. Note that for the iPad you may need to filter by “iPhone only” and then search for Plickers in order to show it in the App Store.
a7e20135.AppleStoreButton         43fabe90.GooglePlayButton
Once you have downloaded and installed the app you will need to also print out a set of student cards. These can be accessed for free on the Plickers website. Print the Standard Set or check out other options on their cards page. It is advisable to print the student cards on card stock but for an initial test run regular paper will work; the heavier paper simply holds up longer. Do not laminate the cards as the glare will cause problems with scanning.
Once you have the Plickers printed and the app installed it is time to register for an account. This can be done via the app or the website but since we are going to use the website to quickly set-up classes and questions it is advised to start there. You will then login to your app with the username and password you set-up on the website and your app will sync with the Plickers website.
Head to the Plickers website, choose “Sign Up” and complete the easy registration form.
2014-11-17_12-19-49
Once logged in to your account choose the box “Add new class” to add your first class.
2014-11-17_12-22-47Complete the class information and then start entering student names. Enter a name and press enter and the site will automatically assign a card to the student you just typed. Quick and easy! It is advisable to enter student names alphabetically in order to make distributing cards easier, but this is not required. You can enter names based upon your seating chart for instance.
With your first class set up it is time to enter your first question. Click on “Library” at the top of the page and then click in the box marked “Type your question here.” When you do the box will expand to allow you to enter your question, possible answers and select your correct answer. Notice that it also lets you toggle between multiple choice and true/false options. Click save and you are almost ready to ask your first question. Another piece of advice: enter the standard for your question first to make tracking assessed standards easier.
2014-11-17_12-36-32
Your final step is to assign the question to a class. This is done by clicking on a question and then choosing “Add to plan…” and choosing the class you set up earlier. Note that you can add the same question to multiple classes.
2014-11-17_12-42-46
It is now time to ask your class your first question. Log in to the mobile app and choose your class and then the question you wish to ask. If you have the website up on your whiteboard or projector you can choose “Live View” and as you change questions in the mobile app the website will display the question you are currently asking making it easy for students to see the question and respond. Students will respond by holding up their Plicker oriented so that the letter of the answer they choose is at the top. You will then touch the camera icon in the mobile app and scan the room with the camera of your device. As you scan the program recognizes each distinct code and its orientation translating this into quick and easy formative data for you. As you scan you will see instantly on the class chart in the app each student turns green or red depending on whether they answered correctly or not. In the “Live View” a student can tell they have been scanned when a blue check appears next to their name. When you are finished scanning cards you can click on “Graph” to quickly show students a bar graph of how the class answered.
That’s it! All you have to do now is enter the questions you would like quick feedback on as you plan each lesson and Plickers will be ready to quickly assess each question and provide you with data on not only how the class overall scored, but how each individual student scored on each question. Perfect for exit ticket type assessment, and for differentiating instruction based on how individual students are understanding the material. Kids love to answer questions with Plickers, probably due to the novelty of it, but it does engage them and sharing the bar chart of how the class does inspire them to try their best to answer each question correctly. And best of all, the entire thing is absolutely free (unless you buy a set of laminated cards). More information and help can be found on the Plickers website under Help.

Suggested Uses

  • Use like an exit ticket at the end of class.
  • Use during instruction to gather data on student understanding and to inform subsequent instruction.
  • Use to quickly poll your students and share the results.

Why It Matters (Teaching Rubric)

It is important for teachers to provide Multiple Assessments Aligned to Goals and Learning Outcomes in order to be able to effectively measure progress toward learning objectives. With Plickers a teacher is given the ability to provide both formative (and summative, if desired) assessments during classroom instruction and to have data on every student, and share overall data with students. Most importantly, it provides the teacher with some necessary information to inform what to plan for instruction and differentiate to meet the needs of every child in the classroom.