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Friday, July 18, 2014

Three Ideas for Using Plickers In the Classroom - Results of My First Trial

Earlier this week at the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp I was able to use Plickers with a group for the first time. Plickers is a neat student response system that uses a teacher's iPad or Android tablet in conjunction with a series of QR codes to create a student response system. Students are given a set of QR codes on large index cards. The codes are assigned to students. Each code card can be turned in four orientations. Each orientation provides a different answer. When the teacher is ready to collect data, he or she uses the Plickers mobile app to scan the cards to see a bar graph of responses.

iOS app vs. Android app:
I tried the Android and the iOS version of the Plickers mobile app. The iOS version worked much better than the Android version. Compared to the Android version, the iOS app did a better job of recognizing the codes that the audience held up. I was able to capture half of the room with one swoop with the iOS app. The Android app required a lot of focusing on individual codes. To be fair, the results may be different if you use another Android device. I was using my Samsung Galaxy S4.

Demo classes vs. saved classes:
You can use Plickers with a demo class. The demo class is the perfect option when you don't need to track responses back to individuals. The demo class is great for completely anonymous polling of your audience. I used the demo class for questions about whether or not we were ready to move on to the next part of the agenda and whether or not we were ready for a break.

The saved class option in Plickers is what you would use if you want to track your students' responses. To use the saved class option you need to enter your students' names and assign a Plickers to each of them. The polling that you do is still anonymous from the students' perspectives, but you can see how each student responded to your prompts.

Three Ideas for Using Plickers In the Classroom
1. Quickly taking the pulse of the class. Ask your students, "do you get this?" (or a similar question) and have them hold up their cards to indicate yes or no. You can do this with a saved class or a demo class in the app.

2. Hosting a review game. Create a series of questions in your saved Plickers class. To conduct the review have students hold up their cards to respond to each question. Every student gets to respond at the same time and you get to see how each student responded. This is an advantage over many review games in which only the first student to respond has his or her voice heard.

3. Take attendance. In a saved Plickers class each student has a card assigned to him or her. At the start of class just have them hold up their cards to check-in.

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