Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Plicker to Check Student Comprehension

I've read on quite a few message forums that many teachers would love to use programs like Kahoot or the Socratic App in their class, but they have problems. Some schools have a strict no cell phones on campus policy. Other students don't have the financial means to each have an electronic device (cell phone, tablet, laptop, etc.). Sometimes my students all have the technology, but the school WiFi is so slow that the apps and websites just don't work.

There are also completely online alternatives like using Google Forms or SurveyMonkey where you can have students answer directly on the site, but often allowing students to take these quizzes online gives them the chance to use notes, or discuss answers with friends. Sometimes great, but not every time.

There are also plenty of old school no tech ways to get students to answer questions. This blog post is about technology that only requires the teacher to have technology.

Plickers is a free app that can be downloaded on Android or Apple products. This version of low-tech meets hi-teach is made possible through the use of  Plicker's cards. There are enough cards for 40 students, so any class of 40 students or less is set! If you are a technophobe, this may be a great first step for you! You will be using a device, but your students won't.

I like to say it is a 10 step program:
  1. Sign up. You can download the app and sign up there, or sign up at their website 
  2. Create a class. This has to be done on the site, not an app. 
  3. Add students. Simply put in your students' names and they will be assigned a card number.
  4. Print the cards (or purchase them from Amazon). If you are printing them yourself I'd suggest you print them on card stock instead of paper. You can laminate normal paper to make it last longer, but sometimes laminating paper causes glare making the reader difficult to work.
  5. Make a poll. This is a "quiz" that your students will answer. You can add questions from the app or the website.
  6. Give the students the question and answer options. This could be on a PowerPoint, Prezi, verbally, or on a piece of paper.
  7. Let your students answer by holding their card up so that the option they think is correct (A, B, C, D) is upright.
  8. Use your tablet / phone to "scan" the class and record your students' answers (anonymously).
  9. Use these answers to immediately decide if students have a grasp of the material, 
  10. Later go back and examine different trends for individual students and try to find ways to help them personally understand the material. This is GREAT to help you differentiate later.
 I don't think this form of technology is useful for every teacher. If you have a 1:1 program in your school you have other options. If you would rather use lo-tech options, that's great too. This is just another tool for your tool belt!

What do you think? Would you ever use Plicker?

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