Product Review of Plickers
Plickers is a rapid-response classroom-polling app that lets educators use one mobile device to scan paper cards for student responses. There are iOS and Android apps as well as a web interface. Teachers can create single questions on the fly or select a set of questions from their personally curated libraries to add to their queue. After projecting the question on a screen, learners hold up their custom response cards, turning the cards in different orientations to indicate their answers — one side up for A, another side up for B, and so on. The teacher holds up a device such as a phone or a tablet and scans learners‘ responses, which are recorded. Teachers can automatically project responses onto a screen and use the Scoresheet and Question History reports on the website to track learners‘ progress over time. Teachers can organize their questions and mobile uploads into folders, creating handy question queues to save time in future lessons.
Responses depend on educators physically scanning student responses, so if that system breaks down, it’s hard to adapt. Scanning individual student cards will take a bit of practice, especially where there are large classes or where laminated cards may have a glare. Students should be careful to ensure that they’re placing the card in the correct position before facing it forward to avoid accidental erroneous responses.
Great lessons begin and proceed with well-thought-out questions, and Plickers can help educators revamp warm-ups, quick checks, and exit tickets while collecting valuable data to help them monitor student progress. Start or end class in a meaningful, engaging manner by asking insightful, thoughtful questions, or challenge learners to create questions to be used for quick reviews of information or texts. Begin a unit with a pretest of sorts, gaining valuable information on how to meet learners where they are, and determine from the start who may require additional challenges or support. Promote metacognition by asking learners procedural or reflective questions. Test-drive quiz and exam questions beforehand, providing time to self-reflect on your instruction before giving learners a summative assessment. Need a little pick-me-up in class discussion or behavior? Create big-picture questions to jump-start class discussions and engage learners, and break up multiple-choice monotony by letting kids debate the answers or stand up as they respond. Any way you use it, learners are sure to prefer the interactive answer cards to paper-and-pencil assessments.
Plickers can be a valuable formative assessment, polling, or discussion-sparking tool for educators with limited technology in their classrooms — or a chance to take a device break in high-tech classrooms. The website allows educators to create questions with text and images that offer multiple-choice or true/false responses, but educators have to add their own value as much as possible, crafting high-quality questions that provoke analysis and inquiry.
Overall, Plickers addresses the critical need for educators to rapidly get a sense of learners‘ progress and adjust accordingly, using the data to identify learners who may require additional support or challenges. This tool shines in its ability to avoid singling out learners who are reluctant to respond in class discussions; the teacher can produce a less intimidating assessment that still allows for interventions as needed. It’s not the flashiest rapid-response tool out there, but it can be a useful and engaging tool for classes that need a little extra push to participate. The ability to create teams would be a useful addition to promote collaboration and debate about correct answers, but educators can work around this by holding off scanning until groups have agreed upon their answer.
Overall User Consensus About the App
Students will like the novelty of trading worksheets for a more engaging medium, and educators will like the useful snapshot they quickly gain with this tool.
Curriculum and Instruction
The onus is on the teacher to make the questions rich enough to provoke critical thinking and deep learning, which can be a challenge with multiple-choice questions.
It’s easy to get up and running, but the help center provides extensive resources. Teachers can get ideas for use from social media sites.