If you’re looking for ways to carry out student assessment in a fun way, but you don’t have access to a class set of iPads to use something like Socrative, then Plickers might be the tool for you.

Plickers is a simple tool that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices. All you need is a teacher tablet or smartphone with the Plicker app installed. You can also sign in via the Plickers website, which gives you access to the back end, as well as enable you to display questions on your screen at the front of the class.

Within the app you create a class with the names of your students, and then print off a class set of special markers. The markers are individually numbered, so student 1 gets card 1 and so on. Each card is different, so it’s important every student gets the correct card. Various different sizes of card are available to download from the Plickers website.

You then create true/false or multiple choice questions and display them on the board via the website. The students simply hold up the cards to answer – there’s 4 different ways to hold them up.

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The app allows you to view the class through the camera on your smartphone or tablet. It recognises each individual card and the answer the student is giving.

I tried it out with a demo class of 8 – just laying the cards on the floor, and it worked quite well. The people behind Plicker reckon it will work with groups of up to 60.

Each card is quickly recognised and the score allocated to that particular student.

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The results are then stored within the app, and can be looked at later. You can quickly see who answered what, and the overall percentage that answered correctly.

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Plickers is an interesting app. It’s a little bit more of a pain to set up than something like Socrative, since you need to set up the classes in advance, but once that’s done it should be easy to administer. If you do find yourself teaching a group where not everyone has access to a device, or can’t get onto the internet then this more low-tech approach might be the way to go. It still beats marking individual tests!

You might want to laminate the cards to make them longer-lasting. Laminate in matt rather than gloss to minimise problems with light reflecting off the cards. Some children might benefit from having the letters written on the back as well so its easier for them to tell which answer they’re giving.

If you want to try Plickers out, the apps are free and Android and IOS versions are available.

Let me know what you think in the comments.