Plickers – A Fabulous App for the Classroom

Transform Your Teaching with Plickers

Plickers is a transformative app. I would tell you to stop everything and download it now, but don’t worry, it will still be there when you finish reading. I even promise you a link.

Some apps are fun. Some apps are useful. And then there are apps that transform the way you teach. Over the years, I have found very few in the latter category.

One Smart Device for an Entire Class

Plickers only needs ONE smart device to record an ENTIRE class! Students at Berry College Elementary and Middle School use Plickers to enhance their learning experience.

Plickers is a powerful, timesaving tool that provides teachers with instant formative or summative assessment in an objective fashion. Students simply turn their card to the letter A, B, C, or D while the teacher uses the quick-to-launch Plickers app to simultaneously scan the cards through the lens of his or her smartphone camera. Instantly, the students’ answers load right to the screen! Recording answers of an entire class takes mere seconds, and the cards can be scanned from almost anywhere in the room.

Why Plickers is a Game-Changer

One of the best, and most attractive, features of Plickers is that it only needs ONE smart device to record an ENTIRE class! That means that no matter what the financial situation of your students, or your school district, as long as you have one smart device available, you can instantly collect student input. Genius.

Simple Yet Powerful Online Component

The online component of Plickers is simple yet powerful, just like the app. Click on Live View to load student answers to your computer in real-time. If you have an interactive whiteboard or projector, you can allow your class to see their answers in real time. You can even hide what students answered until all of the students have finished. The online component also allows you to create questions, view previous poll results, or browse the help menu to find an answer to your question.

(Source: Plickers.com)

Preparing Student Cards

Since the app is dependent on student cards, I took the time to print two sets on card stock and laminate them with a matte lamination. You could easily print the cards (available on the website) and use them instantly, but if you are planning on using these long-term, you may want to make several sets. The cards are designed well. The unique code for each card is quickly readable from over 30 feet away on my iPhone 6, yet students can’t easily see another student’s answer because the letter choices are 12-point font!

Immediate Data Collection

Ready to run and get it? Hang on, I’ll give you a few more reasons:

Instant Questions

This is perhaps the most obvious use for Plickers. Ask a multiple-choice or true/false question and instantly get class feedback.

Voting

Another obvious convenience. Having a class vote? Gone are the days of tallying raised hands. Just pull out your phone and scan the room. Nobody can vote twice. If students change their minds by turning their cards, while still being scanned, their votes are instantly changed, too!

Standardized Testing Practice

Previously, I had students log into a student clicker on their iPad JUST to work on multiple-choice questions for standardized testing. Johnny would get the room number wrong, Maria’s app wouldn’t work even after I—the technology teacher—played with it for five minutes, and twenty minutes later we were ready to use the app. What a MESS! Now they just hold up their card and a few seconds later, I have my data!

Entrance and Exit Tickets

Need a quick way to check prior knowledge or lesson comprehension? It’s as easy as asking a multiple-choice question.

Choosing Centers

My students choose what time of day they do their centers. They choose between reading to themselves, reading to someone else, working on their writing, word work, and listening to reading. They have to do all five, but they choose when to do each one. I use the simplicity of this app to help in the selection process. Students choose one of the letters for the corresponding center. Since reading to someone is the fifth center and they need a partner for it, they flip their card backwards to choose this center. The app doesn’t scan their card; instead, to find a partner, they stand up and find someone else who has a backward card. Easy peasy.

Checking In

After each rotation of language arts, students reflect and check in on their personal performance. Again, I scan their choice and see who is consistently giving their best and who feels like they are in a rut.

Quizzes

Got a quiz that you want instantly graded? Plickers gives you the option of having a “right” answer for every question you create.

Conclusion

Well, if you made it this far, you deserve an award for patience. You can find everything you need on the Plickers website. Oh, one more thing: The app is FREE, use of the website is FREE, and I even made you this poster for FREE. So go get some goodies, and show your friends, because they are going to need it, too.

Our Guest Expert

Lewis Byrne is the second-grade teacher at Berry College Elementary and Middle School and an adjunct lecturer for Berry College. After a full day in the elementary classroom, you can find him managing his Teachers Pay Teachers store or teaching his college students how to integrate technology into their future classrooms. He has a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. He has spent countless hours with thousands of children, picking up many little tidbits of wisdom along the way.

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