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Technology Tuesdays


I am very pleased to welcome our newest author, Debbie Harris, to the Technology Tuesday family! Debbie is the director of educational technology at Solomon Schechter Day School of Metropolitan Chicago, and she’s taught religious school for over thirty years. She also blogs about tech at www.museforjews.com, so if you need even more technology ideas for your classroom, you might want to mosey on over there.
 
Welcome, Debbie! We’re looking forward to reading your columns. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 / 10 Kislev, 5775
The Technology: Plickers
 
By Debbie Harris deb@debharris.com
Edited by Ann D. Koffsky 
 
Plickers is a terrific iOS app that provides instant formative assessment (meaning you can get feedback mid-lesson) without using student response devices.

To use, give each student a Plickers card, which is marked with the letters A-D. Then, ask the class a multiple choice question, and tell them to hold up the letter that they think matches the correct answer. When they do, stand in the front of your room and use the scanner in the app to scan the cards. This is where Plickers does its magic: the scanner will read the cards and provide you with data in real time. It tells you what each student answered, and helps you assess which students are understanding your lecture, and which need more direction– instantly.
 
To use Plickers, sign up for a free account. Then download the app here.
 
(The name comes from paper + clickers… Get it? Plickers.)
 
Setting up your class:
  1. After you’ve signed up for an account and logged in, download the cards you want to use from the website. The standard size prints two cards per letter-sized sheet (that size worked well for the fifth graders with whom I tested this). For younger students, you might want to print the cards out full size. Do consider printing the cards on card stock, but only laminate if you have matte laminate. Otherwise the glare will impact the scanning function.
  2. Set up your classes on the website. You’ll have to add students manually and assign them to cards (each card is numbered).
  3. Create questions. You can create questions, save them, and then add them to classes at a later date. Questions can’t be open-ended – they need to be multiple choice or true/false. (And, yes, you can type in Hebrew on the website.)
 
 In Your Classroom:
  • While I love technology, I also love when there’s a low-tech solution! This is a terrific way to get instant feedback without having to deal with student devices and the inevitable glitches that accompany them. We’re talking about cards, here – there’s nothing lower-tech than that.
  • Not only do you get real-time data, but you can also go back to the Plickers website later to get archived data to review later. For example, if you are teaching the sounds for the Hebrew letters, and there is a student that is consistently mixing up the shin and sin, you can pick that detail up from the data, and make sure to focus on that issue with the student to improve their understanding.
 
Debbie Harris is the Director of Educational Technology at Solomon Schechter Day School of Metropolitan Chicago and blogs at http://www.museforjews.com.



 
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