The main problem teachers face when evaluating students is the lack of time. Writing and correcting tests has always been a time-consuming process, that tires teachers and makes students wait, sometimes endlessly, for their results. Therefore, e-tools, such as Plickers, that offer instant feedback without any intervention from the teacher, are always welcome.
Plickers is an online tool I have used for a while now and it has become extremely popular among my students. They frequently ask me: ’Teacher, are we going to play the game with the cards?’ Never in a million years would I have thought that not only will I be testing students, they will also enjoy it. Moreover, there is no need to correct anything, it correct itself. Magic, you might think! But magic has nothing to do with it. All you need is your smartphone and a free Plickers account you can create online.
So, which are the steps in using this tool in class?
1. Create your account.
2. Create your classes and add students in each class.
3. Create questions (either multiple choice questions, or true-false questions) and organize them in folders.
4. Print out the cards.
5. Download the app on your mobile phone.
6. Now you’re good to go!
As soon as you have taken all these steps you can test your students using this wonderful app. Each student is assigned a number that needs to match with a card number, which means that the student that has number 1 in the class roster will get the card that has number 1 on it; the students that has number 2 will get card number 2, and so on.
Next, you need to explain to students that each question will have a maximum of four possible answers and that these answers are marked A, B, C, D. They can see these letters on their cards, on each side of the QR-code. The teacher launches the test; each question appears on the board in front of the class, the students read the questions and answer choices. They need to hold up their cards in such a way that the letter corresponding to the correct answer is on top. The teacher will scan the cards using the mobile app. This process is quite fast, only a few seconds being necessary to scan the answers of a class of 20-25 students. Once the teacher has scanned their answers, their name on the screen turns from white to blue, therefore making the entire process extremely visual.
As soon as the test is over, Plickers generates a scoresheet that shows instantly the students’results: they get the percentage of the correct answers, and all their correct answers are marked green, while the wrong ones are red.
Usually, students are extremely eager to see their results, as they can see how they ranked in the overall result. It gives them real-time feedback, which is priceless.
As a teacher of English as a second language I can’t but advocate for the use of such tools. They make our lives easier, and our classes more spectacular. And when you take into the consideration that it makes even the most quiet student jump for joy, it makes all the hard work worthwhile.