Ok Friends! So this blog post has been LONG overdue! I almost feel like I need to apologize to all of you for not getting this out to you sooner, because if you are not aware of this FABULOUS app...you are SO missing out! The app is called Plickers, and my students BEG to use it ALL THE TIME! It is such a versatile app that it can be used for any subject, it only takes mere minutes to complete the activity, and the app compiles all your data for you! YES... YOU READ THAT RIGHT...IT WAS NOT SOME CRAZY TYPO...THE APP COMPILES ALL YOUR DATA FOR YOU!!!
I will give you a moment to let that sink in!
Now, let me tell you a little more about this wonderous thing called Plickers. It is an app that you download onto your Smartphone. Your students do not need any kind of device to participate. You enter your classlist into the app and assign them each a card number. You can then print out the Plickers cards for free (or you can buy sets of cards from Amazon). Each card is unique and is labeled with the answer choices A, B, C, and D placed in different directions on the face of the card. This makes it very easy for students to provide answers to your questions confidently without worrying about what their neighbor is choosing...because they can't figure out what their neighbor is choosing!
Now, like I said earlier, this app can be used for any subject! It is just a great way to get a quick assessment of student understanding in key concepts and skills. It is also a great way to do surveys and voting in your classroom. We use it quite a bit in math to help determine which concepts need to be revisited, and in science and social studies as a pre assessment of skills. We also like to use it during Morning Meeting to answer our Question Of The Day when the answers lend themselves to a true/false format or a multiple choice format.
Once you know what you want to assess, you log into Plickers either on your phone or on the web and type your questions in. Then, when you are ready to assess, ask your question, (if you have a Smartboard it can be displayed live on the screen), and you use the camera on your Smartphone to scan the students responses.
Scanning the responses is the fun part! If you are using the Live View on your Smartboard, the students can see when their answer has been scanned, because a checkmark will appear next to their name. This way they know to put down their card. You will know that their card has been scanned, because their name will appear on the screen of your phone. It only takes a matter of minutes to scan the entire class.
As you are scanning, the app is already collecting and calculating data! You can see right on your phone who has the correct answers and who does not, and who still needs to answer. On the Smartboard, you can choose to show the students the correct answer and the layout and percentage of the answers you received...without actually identifying who answered correctly and who did not. This data then stays on the app so that you can revisit it and use it to help plan future instruction and assessment. The other really nice thing about the Plickers app is that the website is very helpful and walks you through every aspect of setting this up in your classroom so that you can use it successfully!
Have you tried Plickers in your classroom yet? I'd love to hear all about it! If you haven't yet...please come back and let me know how it goes when you do!