Plickers are like clickers often used in university classes, but instead of using a remote transmitter to respond, students use a plickers card to respond. Students respond to multiple choice questions by holding up their card. Teachers gather answers with a smartphone or tablet (which is nice because students don’t need a device). For more information, see Plickers.

Uses
Either at the beginning of class to review a reading or story from the previous lesson or at the end of class to review a reading or story, I ask a lot of yes/no or true/false questions. Students have to listen to the question and respond with their card. The space where they’d see a question on the screen reads something like “¿Cierto o falso?”. They get to practice listening, and I save time entering questions. I only have to enter two questions into my Library (one with true as the correct answer and another with false as the correct answer), and then add them to a class queue (you can reuse questions).

Recently, my 8th graders read a letter written by a tidy girl complaining about her messy roommate/sister. After the reading they read “quotes” in first person and had to identify whether sister A, sister B, or the mother said it. With pencil and paper, kind of boring. With plickers, more engaging.

I haven’t yet, but I’d like to use plickers and questions to ask questions to encourage small-group discussions in which students defend/argue opinions.

My thoughts

Pros

  • Students don’t need an electronic device. Just a plickers card. As long as everyone has their card, an activity with plickers is good for a day when we haven’t used computers and it doesn’t make sense to take them out of the cart for a 5-minute activity.
  • Set up is easy, just copy and paste a class list to assign students a card.
  • Makes a familiar activity novel. Yay novelty!
  • Quick formative assessment. You can see individual student results.

Cons

  • The extra time it takes to hand out replacement cards.
  • Teachers need multiple devices and good WiFi: smartphone or tablet to gather responses and a computer/laptop and LCD projector to show questions and let students see if their response has been collected.
  • Entering questions and responses takes a long time, and writing good multiple choice questions is challenging.