Sunday, 12 October 2014

Plickers - a plucky little number.

I am not sure who first mentioned @plickers to me but I am so glad that they did.  Plickers  "is a powerfully simple tool that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices".  So with the touch of the camera icon on your iPad you can find out exactly what your students know (or perhaps more importantly, what they don't know) and build your next lesson plans accordingly.  I have already talked here about how to cope with just one iPad in a class and here about using technology to enhance assessment for learning.  So Plickers is the perfect tool to meet the needs of the one iPad class and will certainly tick some AFL boxes.

It really is so simple to use  if you follow the guidelines on the support page on the website.  Print yourself a set of cards that look like this (trust me - do not laminate them):

Each of the numbered cards has a different code on it and is labelled on each side with an A, B, C or D.  These letters represent the answers to the questions that you input and then display on the whiteboard. Here's the recent "live view" from a year 8 class studying the weather. 

As you can see the simple phrase that needs translating has four possible answers.  At this point your students can decide upon their answer (in this case C) and hold up their card with its unique code with the letter C on the top.  Then the magic happens.  With your iPad you tap the camera icon and scan your students cards and quickly discover who has learnt the topic and who still has work to do.  Of course, it would be just as easy to ask for a quick show of hands, or mini whiteboards for that matter, to ascertain the same information.  However, what you can not do with a show of hands is build up a picture over a series of questions over a series of lessons.  With Plickers there is an easily accessible record of progress that looks like this for each question:

So, in all, there really is very little to dislike with Plickers.  The team are great and get back to you quickly if you have any problems.  I am certainly enjoying using the tool and have set up a number of classes with whom I can make the most of this tool.  Questions can be reassigned to different classes and true/false questions can be set as well. 

I thoroughly recommend you look into this app and have a go with it.  Once you start you will not turn back.  Let me know in the comment box below what you think.