Saturday, May 3, 2014

Forget about clickers, make your own Plickers

A classroom set of clickers, aka Student Response System can cost anywhere from $1000 to $3500 depending on the brand you choose, yet most of the teachers I have worked with use their clickers for quick multiple choice and true/false assessments.

My first set of 40 Plickers. Printed on white card stock and laminated.
I recently discovered a new iOS app and website (and Android app) called Plickers, short for Paper Clickers, that allows teachers to create and collect data from multiple choice assessments for little to no cost (provided they have a smart phone, iPod, or tablet.) Here's the basic idea: each student in class gets a paper card with a unique matrix design similar to a QR Code. When asked a question, students hold up their card with the correct answer positioned at the top of the card. The teacher scans the room with a smart phone or tablet (iOS or Android) and answers are recorded.

This is what it looks like in action:

As you can see, as I scanned the classroom, each student's name appeared on my screen to confirm that their card had been read and their response recorded. When that process is complete, I then get aggregate scores from the class displayed as graphs as well as individual scores for each student. Here's what the data looks like in the app and on the website:

This video shows what the results look like in the app. Scrolling through students, I can quickly see who answered correctly, who answered incorrectly, and who didn't answer the question.

Aggregate and Individual Scores via the Plickers website.
It's a pretty simple process to set up. The steps I followed are all listed below. The only trick is to remember that you need to visit the website to set up your classes and then you have to use the app to set up your questions. The other thing to remember is that when you create your quiz, you can't enter the responses for A, B, C, and D. So, I built my quiz as a PowerPoint presentation listing one question and possible responses on each slide. This way students could easily see the options for their responses.

When I was teaching with Plickers and sharing how to use them, I wrote these steps for setting it all up on the board.
One additional note, I added an answer key to the back of each card. I thought this would help students identify their answer while holding their card up for the teacher to scan. I made the letters for the back of the card in a thin font and used a light gray color so that the answers wouldn't be readily seen by a student's neighbors.

Here are all of the files that I used and created to make a set of Plickers and to get started.
Additional ideas:
  • If you use small whiteboards in your classroom for student response, Plickers could easily attached to the back of those whiteboards and used for quick response questions. 
  • Because the cards are so easy to make, you could make one set of each class and students could keep them in their binder or notebook for your class. 
  • If they get lost or damaged, it is very easy to print new Plicker cards. 
  • The biggest limitation is that you can't currently track and export data for a class or track student progress directly in the app. But the website says, "Online tracking/reporting tools coming soon," so hopefully that functionality is added soon. 
So, now that you can make your own set of clickers for next to nothing, how will you use them?

1 comment:

  1. This is also useful for classrooms in schools to collect response of all students.