I’m not often blindsided by instructional technology. With Twitter, Facebook and a bunch of like-minded, creative friends, I usually hear about new learning technologies before they become widely adopted. But I missed this one. Plickers is hot stuff! And it’s free and easy to use. If you’re an educator and have always wanted to jump into the world of clickers, push those thoughts and ambitions aside. Plickers is what you want to try. Here’s a run down for how Plickers works. An instructor goes to the Plickers website and prints off a different Plickers card for each student in their class. Each Plickers card looks like a cross between the aliens in Space Invaders and a QR code. When used in class, the student holds up their card when asked an engagement or assessment question. The instructor uses the camera on her smartphone and pans across the room. The camera registers each card as a different response for each student. You may be wondering how students can answer differently if they’re only given a single card. That’s probably the most innovative part of the Plickers assessment system. The orientation of the card registers the student’s response. Holding the card one way will register as an A. Holding the card another would register as a B. The system supports four different card orientations so instructors can ask multiple-choice questions with up to four responses. The Plickers website has card groups for small classes (under 40 students) or larger classes (up to 63 students). In addition to offering the cards, the website also allows instructors to create questions and classes on their computers that easily sync with their smartphones. If an instructor connects a card to a specific student, the site and app records the student’s responses which can be used for grading purposes if the instructor chooses. Plickers is an easy to use system that doesn’t rely on students buying any expensive technology or instructors. Maybe that’s why over 52,000 teachers in 112 countries have used Plickers. If you’re worried about Plickers being free now and then moving to a pay system down the road, fear not. The system was first developed by Nolan Amy, a former math teacher, who explains: “Plickers is free. And don’t worry, we’re not going to suddenly start charging for the product you love. As former teachers, we know how important it is to be able to depend on the tools you use. In addition to constantly improving the always-free version of Plickers that exists right now, we’re hoping to add a Premium, paid version as well.” So jump in. Download some Plickers cards and start engaging your students today. With almost no financial investment, what’s stopping you?