Questions library.

Plickers for History Teachers: a Great Tool for Assessment

I have to admit in the beginning – I was not searching for Plickers! But now that I have found the app and tried it out with my students it’s going to stay with us. My students and I love it. To explain what Plickers is I will start by using the sentence from the official web page: “Plickers is a powerfully simple tool that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices.” That sums it up! It’s so simple and fast. Just register on plickers.com and download the iOS/Android app on your mobile.

How do I set it up?

There is a one-off set-up procedure for each class. You have to create classes and add students to them. Each student will receive a unique card with a visual code (a bit like a QR code or a Rorschash test). When you share the cards with your students each card corresponds with a student number that you have already added to the Plickers system. They can use the card again and again.

Why do we have student cards?

The cards enable you to track a specific answer to a specific student. Students can see in live view if you have scanned their card. Also you can look at the ‘Reports’ link after a lesson and and then under ‘Question History’ you can see every individual answer on question. This enables you to check each student’s knowledge level and to intervene if there is a problem. You could even use this for grading.

What do I need?

You need an LCD projector to show the questions, one smartphone and WiFi connection for results in real time. You set up questions on the Plickers App. Students then hold up their card so that the letter they choose to answer the question with (multiple choice, a-d) is at the top of their card.  You then use your smartphone camera to  slowly scan the room for the answers. The app recognises the cards, records who the teacher assigned them to, and captures the answer that the student chose. You can immediately see students answers on the smartphone display and project that onto the screen. I have printed the cards for my students and suggested that they paste them into their notebooks.

I need to see this!

Well sky is the limit (or your imagination)! For now I have used Plickers in three different parts of my lesson. One is to ask a question as an introduction or as a topic discussion starter. I ask a question with multiple answers or true/false and them show the results to the class. In a similar way you can use Plickers to check learning or understanding of concepts/sources/words during the lesson. You can also use the tool for a quick fact check at the end of a lesson. Students can answer each for himself or as a group during group activities. Because the letters of answers are so small students can show them to the class without being recognised. That is very useful when the question asked is sensitive, or if a child is shy. If you are even more masochistic you can ask them to assess your work in the end of the lesson. 😉

How was this lecture? 16 students said it was excellent.
How was this lecture? 16 students said it was excellent.
Questions library.
Questions library.

Finally…

Plickers is very powerful because you can prepare questions before the lesson and also in a couple of clicks on a mobile device during the lesson. When preparing questions you can sort them info folders and sub folders. From folders you can assign/add them to Live View during your lesson. In classes you can build up the class roster (you can also print them).
Try it out and send us some feedback and ideas! Thanks!

Published by

Miljenko Hajdarovic

MA in history and MA in sociology education from Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb. He is working as history teacher since 2005. Right now he is working at Cakovec High School (Croatia) as history, sociology, politics and civics teacher. For the last 10 years he is editing online magazine Croatian Historical Portal (www.povijest.net). He is also the president of Association for Education and Human Rights Promotion. Focus of his interests are human rights and Holocaust education, ICT in education and didactics of history.

One thought on “Plickers for History Teachers: a Great Tool for Assessment”

  1. great post!

    I find this game changing, since students do not have to have any device with them to have the whole system working.

    Thanks for sharing!

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