Plickers, which stands for “paper clickers,” are an easy, technology enhanced way to quickly gather formative assessment data from your students without requiring a student device. Students utilize a specially designed card, much like a QR code, that is assigned specifically to each student to provide their answers in the form of a multiple choice responses (A, B, C, D) to the teacher who scans the responses with an iDevice or Android device. Data from the students is instantly available on the teacher device and can be displayed to students through the Plickers website where the data is also stored for review purposes. As a teacher you can easily gather formative data from your students, for free, using this powerful tool, here’s how…

How To Get Started

Getting started with Plickers is a quick and easy process. In order to get started you first need to download the Plickers App to your device. You can download the apps using the links below. Note that for the iPad you may need to filter by “iPhone only” and then search for Plickers in order to show it in the App Store.

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Once you have downloaded and installed the app you will need to also print out a set of student cards. These can be accessed for free on the Plickers website. Print the Standard Set or checkout other options on their cards page. It is advisable to print the student cards on card stock but for an initial test run regular paper will work; the heavier paper simply holds up longer. Do not laminate the cards as the glare will cause problems with scanning. Matte laminate is required and for $20 you can’t beat the price for pre-laminated cards available on Amazon.

Now that you have the Plickers printed and the app installed it is time to register for an account. This can be done via the app or the website but since we are going to use the website to quickly set-up classes and questions it is advised to start there. You will then login to your app with the username and password you set-up on the website and your app will sync with the Plickers website.

Head to the Plickers website, choose “Sign Up” and complete the easy registration form.

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Once logged in to your account choose the box “Add new class” to add your first class.

2014-11-17_12-22-47Complete the class information and then start entering student names. Enter a name and press enter and the site will automatically assign a card to the student you just typed. Quick and easy! It is advisable to enter student names alphabetically in order to make distributing cards easier, but this is not required. You can enter names based upon your seating chart for instance.

With your first class set up it is time to enter your first question. Click on “Library” at the top of the page and then click in the box marked “Type your question here.” When you do the box will expand to allow you to enter your question, possible answers and select your correct answer. Notice that it also lets you toggle between multiple choice and true/false options. Click save and you are almost ready to ask your first question. Another piece of advice: enter the standard for your question first to make tracking assessed standards easier.

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Your final step is to assign the question to a class. This is done by clicking on a question and then choosing “Add to plan…” and choosing the class you set up earlier. Note that you can add the same question to multiple classes.

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It is now time to ask your class your first question. Log in to the mobile app and choose your class and then the question you wish to ask. If you have the website up on your whiteboard or projector you can choose “Live View” and as you change questions in the mobile app the website will display the question you are currently asking making it easy for students to see the question and respond. Students will respond by holding up their Plicker oriented so that the letter of the answer they choose is at the top. You will then touch the camera icon in the mobile app and scan the room with the camera of your device. As you scan the program recognizes each distinct code and its orientation translating this into quick and easy formative data for you. As you scan you will see instantly on the class chart in the app each student turn green or red depending on whether they answered correctly or not. In the “Live View” a student can tell they have been scanned when a blue check appears next to their name. When you are finished scanning cards you can click on “Graph” to quickly show students a bar graph of how the class answered.

That’s it! All you have to do now is enter the questions you would like quick feedback on as you plan each lesson and Plickers will be ready to quickly assess each question and provide you with data on not only how the class overall scored, but how each individual student scored on each question. Perfect for exit ticket type assessment, and for differentiating instruction based on how individual students are understanding the material. Kids love to answer questions with Plickers, probably due to the novelty of it, but it does engage them and sharing the bar chart of how the class did inspires them to try their best to answer each question correctly. And remember, the entire thing is absolutely free (unless you buy a set of laminated cards). I’m sure you will love this simple yet powerful assessment tool. More information and help can be found on the Plickers website under Help.

Suggested Uses

  • Use like an exit ticket at the end of class.
  • Use during instruction to gather data on student understanding and to inform subsequent instruction.
  • Use to quickly poll your students and share the results.

Why It Matters (Teaching Rubric)

When designing instruction it is important to provide Multiple Assessments Aligned to Goals and Learning Outcomes to measure progress toward learning objectives. With Plickers a teacher is given the ability to provide both formative (and summative, if desired) assessments during classroom instruction and to have data on every student, and share overall data with students (essential competency 1.3). Most importantly, it provides the teacher with necessary information to inform instruction and differentiate to meet the needs of every child in the classroom.

Your Challenge

Consider the features offered by Plickers, and the convenience factor of gathering data quickly and easily from your students. How might you use this simple technology to better meet the needs of your students? How does gathering data during instruction help to better position us as teachers to meet the needs of our students?

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Bill is an eLearning Coach helping to facilitate meaningful integration of technology to enrich instruction, engage students & develop 21st century skills. He is dedicated to enthusiastic, dynamic and technologically rich teaching as a means of creating and nurturing a lifelong love of learning in children. He has over 15 years of classroom experience and was the 2006 Outstanding High School Educator for Vanderburgh County. Currently he is a doctoral candidate for a Doctor of Philosophy in General Psychology degree with an emphasis on integrating technology, learning, and psychology. Bill maintains an active presence as presenter on the eLearning Conference circuit. He has a supportive wife Jeneen and wonderful son Zander.

20 COMMENTS

  1. I can really see this being used to do a quick check out type of assessment at the end of a period or class. This could also be used as a review. Like anything, it’d be setting up the questions and answers but it looks like a very quick assessment. It’s like the approach that students wrote their answer on a small whiteboard and held up for the teacher to see has upgraded.

    • @MrCoachK15 – It is very similar to an upgraded “hold up your white board” system but with the ability to quickly record the students’ answers. This provides the teacher with the ability to quickly ask several questions and then go back and see how the students performed. You can also quickly add questions on the fly from the mobile app, so you can assess understanding in the spur of the moment if you need to. Thanks for sharing!

  2. It does look like a very quick assessment on something that you just taught. I am just curious as to how time consuming this would be to set up the test. I am sure that the students would like answering the questions like this rather than raising their hands .You definitely would get a more accurate answer of what they know and did not know.

  3. Any time you can gather valuable formative data in a way that the students enjoy, it’s a win. I think you’re right that it’s novel to the students, which usually makes it a more enjoyable process for them. I wonder if, as they get used to the process (which decreases the time it takes out of class), they’d also start to lose interest. If students continued to enjoy using Plickers, I could see it as a daily exit ticket strategy that eliminates grading time and increases participation.

  4. How might you use this simple technology to better meet the needs of your students?
    Currently I have a class set of clickers. What I like about them is that I can engage the students in the lesson. I use it to take polls, check for understanding, and to get student opinions on matters. I also use if for some assessments. The students like the immediate feedback. I like that I can see reports of which questions the students did well. I can then evaluate if I need to re-teach a section or if I just had a bad question. Not everyone in the school has a class set of clickers, so this would be awesome.

  5. Plickrs would would definitely be a great response system for formative and exit tickets. With the requirement of assessments at the beginning and end of a lesson, this would be a very quick and easy way to assess without added paperwork or creating paper tests to give to the students. Quick response is the way to go in the time crunched educational work place!

  6. I haven’t used Plickers yet, but theyou are on my list of things to try. I think getting quick data from students could be quite useful to see what they know and what might need to be retaught. I am considering using these as an exit ticket of sorts, I think they would be useful for that type of quick assessment.

  7. I have used Plickers in my classroom several times and have had a lot of success with them. I especially like that I don’t have to create a separate account for each student. I only have to assign them a Plickers number. I also appreciate that you can create questions from your computer, the Plickers phone app or from the Plickers iPad app. It’s nice that I can fill in questions as I think of them without having to actually be at a computer. I do wish that there was an easier organization method under the library. I’d like to be able to group my questions before I assign them to my classroom. Overall, this is one of my favorite ways to use technology in my classroom. Plickers makes learning fun for the students and I love how it organizes the data for me. One piece of advice that I have is not to laminate your Plickers. I thought laminating my Plickers would help them to last longer, but the sheen from the lamination makes it hard to scan the cards. I remade my Plickers cards and didn’t laminate them and they now work perfectly.

      • Pat we laminated our Plicker cards at Vogel by taking them to Office Depot. We had to make sure we asked for the heavy but matte finish. Ours seem to work great with that. Have you tried contact paper? That might be a more economical way of laminating without the glare caused by regular laminating. Good luck I know we LOVE ours.

  8. I think I like some of the other technology ways better than printing cards and needing to have a device try to read 32-35 cards around the room and then checking the data that it recorded. My students have found Socrative and Kahoot quick and easy. Mr. Gumula says it a version of hold up your white board; yes, and as a math teacher I can see their mistake on the white board not like this with a multiple choice question.

    • Leah – Thanks for your reply. Let me share that the scanning of cards goes very quickly and typically takes only seconds to scan the entire classroom. I will agree that there are other ways of assessing in a 1:1 environment but our younger grades and other schools are not 1:1 and this allows an easy way to check understanding for those that are not 1:1. Even in elementary schools that are 1:1 I have seen great success with Plickers because they allow for such quick capturing of data and the graphing feature really holds kids accountable. No one wants to be the 1% that got the question wrong. Admittedly, they are not for everyone. If you’re using Socrative or Kahoot then bravo, you’re already collecting data and don’t need this tool. For some those programs are more than they desire or unusable due to lack of student devices. This provides an option for classrooms where the only technology resides in the teachers hands. Thanks again for sharing the resources you use to gather formative data. They are both great and highly recommended as well! -Bill

  9. I am super excited about this tool! This was something that I haven’t heard about before. I always love adding new tools to my digital toolbelt. I can see my math teachers loving this tool. I have a lot of dynamic teachers who still like to have kids raise their hands physically. This gets the kids to hold up their answer, the data is easily recorded and captured for the teacher to review later, and the activity requires movement and not staring at a screen all the time – which is one of my teachers’ worst fears.

  10. I like this idea for creating the new technology enhanced questions for ISTEP. We know have multiple choice questions where more than one answer applies. You could set up the choices in the Plicker question area and quickly scan the room for data on how well students answer a question where more than one choice applies. Exit tickets are another good use for Plickers.

  11. We use Plickers at Vogel all the time. They are great for those classes that don’t have a one to one environment. They are also nice because they give you quick results for pre-checks or post tests. The students can’t look off of another student’s card to see if they have the correct answer so you know you are getting a true assessment. Our 6th grade classes like to use them as entrance and exit answer slips. Each class has them printed on a different colored card stock. This way if one is lost they know who’s class it came from. We took them to Office Depot to be laminated. Be sure to get the heavy and matte laminate. The shiny gives too much glare and they don’t register as well. The kids enjoy using them. I would suggest to only have 5 or less questions. I had 10 one time and it was way too long. I also wish there was a way to show what I am seeing on my phone. The kids are interested in seeing that. I like Kahoot because it shows the results to the class at the end but then everyone has to have a device.

  12. My students seemed to like this tool, but many of them said they liked Kahoot better. That could just be because we’ve been using Kahoot longer though. I like any tool that provides immediate feedback to my kiddos. I like things like this for exit tickets. I enjoy the speed of the classroom scan as well. For me the best part might be that you can enter the standards and keep track of those that have been assessed. I like the way the data is organized with Plickers as well. Since my district is 1:1 K-12, I will probably stick with Kahoot.

  13. My child’s former teacher used Plickers and liked it. Students were more engaged because they were excited when it came to answering questions. I’ve wanted to try it in my own classroom, but have yet to make time to try it out. Maybe I will soon.

  14. I participated in a demonstration of Plickers at a recent faculty meeting. I’ve been using Kahoot with a lot of success in my classes. While Plickers could be easier on the students’ end – they don’t have to log in just hold up their plicker – I don’t have a device that can read them. I’ll stay with Kahoot for now.

  15. Plickers made a real life entry into my life last week during our Faculty meeting. I like Plickers and if I had not found Kahoot first it may be something that I would look to incorporate more frequently into my classroom. Plickers is ideal for a situation where 1:1 isn’t possible or a large amount of students don’t have their technology with them or in working order. I can see Plickers as being perfect for exit or entry tickets like Mr. Barringer said or quick hitters that you don’t necessarily want to take the time and create a Kahoot or other interactive activity for.

  16. Plickers may be a great solution for me. I liked Kahoots but as I team with teachers in their classrooms rather than have my own, I needed something that students didn’t have to log into. It will be a quick and easy way to assess the level of knowledge that students already have about research and plagiarism. The faculty at HHS have really embraced trying Plickers recently. I wish I had read this early to warn them about laminating the cards though!

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