Using “Plickers” for questioning

This is my first post to do with teaching on my re-launched blog. I thought I would start with a tool I’ve been using for the last 12 months on a fairly regular basis.

Plickers are a great tool for teachers who normally use mini whiteboards, traffic lights, etc. I used to enjoy using whiteboards – but they suffer with one real issue. Students tend to copy each others answers before you get to see them.

Plickers are basically a set of cards (like in the photo below) – that you can give to each student, they all look different – like a barcode. To save time when using them I stick them into their books/folders and this means I can put the students into a class on the Plickers website (www.plickers.com) so I can load it up really easily in class.

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There are a range of cards you can pick from. A standard set is enough for a typical class size in the UK. But the large sets are what I use – they are printed onto an A4 sheet each. This makes scanning them quicker and easier.

plickercardtypesjpg

Different Plicker Cards Available

To setup a class, first add a “roster” using the website, when you are done it’ll look something like this:

rostersamplejpg

Sample Class List

Once you have done that, click “print roster” and it will give you a list of students and a number against them. This is how you know what to give out to each student. They will each get a card that looks something like this (note the A, B, C and D around the edge):

plickercard

Sample Plicker Card

Basically, students have to point the letter at the top for the answer they want to give. So in the example above if the following question were to be asked…

What is the capital city of France?

A) Madrid

B) Paris

C) London

D) Glasgow

The student in the example would have put “B” at the top of his/her card – but it is impossible for other students to know what they answered. This solves a major issue with whiteboard.

To get students answers you need either an iOS or Android device with the Plickers app installed.

Download the iOS version here

Download the Android version here

Note – it is not currently available on the Windows Store.

Another great thing of using the Plicker system is you can save the results for review later on, this is useful for getting an idea of common problems you didn’t manage to address in lesson, as well as using the data to support learning conversations.

plickrsamplereportjpg

Sample Whole Class Feedback

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Detailed Student Feedback

The great thing about Plickers is how quick the feedback is generated. The steps are basically this:

  1. Log into the website (www.plickers.com)
  2. Open the app on your device
  3. Select the quiz you pre-set up on the website
  4. Work through the questions on your device
  5. The questions appear on the board
  6. Students respond using their cards
  7. Scan the cards using your device
  8. Feedback (graph or red/green per student) appears on the board

I really enjoy using Plickers with both my Computer Science and History classes. The students also really like using it as it adds an element of change from mini whiteboards that are used extensively across our school and when I question students they admit that it becomes boring at times.

Have you used Plickers? Do you use anything else?

Leave any feedback in the comments, tweet me or get in touch using the contact form.

Coming soon: Kahoot! A new way to quiz in the ICT suite.

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