If you’ve ever had a dream about how to formatively assess your students while gathering data to improve your instruction (while you are teaching)…You’ve dreamed of Plickers.  It’s everything you never knew you always wanted out of a formative assessment tool.

I met Nolan Amy two years ago in the Bloggers Cafe at ISTE back when Plickers was practically a mispronunciation of “clickers.”  In his mint green tee shirt and book bag full of … QR codes (??)… my interest was peaked.  He gave me a card and explained his (FREE) resource for teachers.  I was hooked from the moment he said “data”…(and FREE).  

In the course of two years Plickers has grown and improved on a consistent basis.  I show Plickers to anyone and everyone who will listen.  I am so passionate about the power of this tool that I made an edtech recipe card to spread the love with all the teachers in my district.  But honestly, the tool does the convincing all on it’s own.  

During a PLC meeting with a group of teachers from Creekside Elementary School, Plickers was a resource at the top of my list.  Not having an elementary background I always struggle with how to provide support in the lower grade levels.  Plickers was the perfect opener.  The teachers were hooked just like I was.


Step 1:  Print Cards.

Before class, Ms. Dennis (4th grade) printed the Plickers cards from so they would be ready for students at the beginning of class.


Step 2:  Load rosters.

To take the formative assessment data to the next level to REALLY help guide instruction, Ms. Dennis preloaded her class rosters online.  Using her LMS (Infinite Campus), she downloaded a class roster into a CSV file.  She then copy/pasted that list into her class on  Even for the “non-tech savvy” this step is a piece of cake.  


Step 3:  Download App.

It’s free and it works with Android and iOS.  Ms. Dennis used her teacher iPad to download.  The device must have camera capabilities.  


Step 4:  Pass out cards.

It’s important to note in this step that once students have been loaded onto a card number was auto-assigned to them.  To ensure accurate data, make sure all students have their assigned card number.


Step 5:  Ask question & poll students.

This is the fun part.  Ms. Dennis just taught a lesson on the water cycle and wanted to check for understanding at the beginning of her class the next day.  There are two ways to enter a question using this tool.  The first way is to add questions via the app.  Go to the appropriate class and click “create”.  Add question.  The second option is to add the question on  By clicking “Library” then “New Question” questions can be preloaded and then simply selected on the application.  

Ms. Dennis put her question on the board from  Her students read the question and decided their answer.  When they had an answer ready to submit, they choose the appropriate side of the card to hold up.  When all students had cards in the air, Ms. Dennis opened the app, click “Scan” and scanned her students.  Simultaneously, answers appeared on the board in the form of a bar graph.

Step 6:  Analyze that data!

Okay, maybe this is actually my favorite part.  Data, data, data!  It truly takes instruction to the next level.  First, while the app was open, Ms. Dennis was able to see students answer selections as she scanned in red or green beside their card, thus providing an immediate visual for her to assess her students level of knowledge and understanding.  Second, the students were able to see a visual interpretation of their answers as a class.   The letters are so small on the cards that “roaming eyes” are nearly non-existent and the scan is nearly instant which prevents students from “changing their mind” at the last minute thus skewing the data.  

So proud of Ms. Dennis and her team for jumping in and giving Plickers a try.  Engaged kids and intentional assessments guiding instruction…couldn’t get any better! 🙂

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