In the world of EdTech we like to play around with all the latest technology (by default) and can sometimes unwittingly be guilty of overlooking the fact that not everybody has access to all the technology we love to share.
In fact, there are many teachers who dream of more access to technology, but for a wide variety of reasons only have access to very limited resources.
Luckily, there are some amazing developers out there who realize that not everybody has an endless budget, and not every student can afford to buy a tablet to come to school with. Today we’re looking at Plickers – a service made by some creative developers who had this exact problem in mind.
I recently covered Kahoot – an excellent clicker service for 1:1 classrooms, and before that I also covered Socrative. If you’re in a position where everybody has access to their own device, check those out. If not (or if you have good reasons not to use devices in the classroom), you may find that Plickers is the answer.
What are Plickers?
Plickers are simple cards you can print out on the school copier. Every student in your class gets an assigned card. Each card has a number, and four sides. Each side as it faces upward represents a letter choice, A B C or D. When you ask your students a multiple choice question, they hold up their card to indicate their letter answer. As the teacher, you simply open the app on your phone, and sweep the phone across the room to find out how your students voted. The results are instantaneous and let you adjust your lessons on the fly with immediate feedback.
How do they work?
This gets pretty nerdy, and some genius engineer probably figured it out, but the long and short of it is this: Every card has a different pattern, which the app recognizes through the camera on your phone. Every pattern is then represented differently by a different 90 degree rotation. This way, no matter which way the card is held up, the app will recognize which card number it is, and which letter the person holding the card meant to indicate. These results are all stored in the app on the fly, and quickly build a database of your students’ understanding.
I want to see this in action.
You know I wouldn’t leave you hanging:
Looks great. Are there any limitations?
By the nature of running multiple choice questions, you’re limited. Plickers aren’t meant for deep comprehension assessment, but rather for quick progress assessment. You could use them to make sure that a concept is understood, that your students did their assigned reading, or even as a pop quiz.
What’s with the tiny letters on the cards?
Plickers are intentionally designed to reduce peer pressure and cheating. The tiny nature of the letters printed on the cards are perfect to use with your students who don’t like to speak out. The abstract shapes have no connection to the choice a student makes, and the tiny printed letters are just big enough for the person holding the card to see, but not big enough for a neighbor to see. For the same reasons, students can’t look around and change their answers based on the answers of their friends. Their choices have to be theirs and theirs alone.
Awesome – I’m ready to get started!
Glad to hear it! Starting with this post, I’m introducing a new feature which helps spread the word about the apps and services I cover here at EdTech.tv. I’ve created a one-sheet PDF that you can download and e-mail out or print to give to people who might be interested, or to keep for your own reference. I hope that in the future these can prove useful for professional development in your own PLN as well as with your peers. This is an experiment for me, so if you find these useful, please let me know in the comments, or through any of the social media outlets where I spend time (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc).
Check it out here:
[sociallocker id=”1118″]Click To Download