Do you remember the days of labourously hand writing out stacks upon stacks of flashcards in preparation for the ‘big test?’ Well those days can be kissed goodbye thanks to some awesome and easy to use flashcard apps! Flashcard apps are not only a great resource for students to study with independantly at home, but also as a classroom resource for collaborative learning. My peer Allison Smith (check out her education blog here: www.allisonsmithedu.wordpress.com ) and I teamed up to investigate 3 Flashcard apps (Cram, Quizlet, and StudyBlue), and thought up some practical applications to enhance learning in the classroom.
As a teacher, you can add Flashcard apps to your education arsenal in the following ways:
- Create your own deck of flashcards for a unit/chapter and give students access to them (either through Google docs, Remind101, QR Code, link to email, link on class website, etc.) and require a screenshot from the student showing they have completed the deck for study purposes→ this creates a fun way to engage students to work through the course material either in class, or on their own time.
- Have students create their own deck of flashcards for their own study purposes, screenshot for evidence of studying for a completion mark→ #SelfieYourLearning
- Assign groups of students a different chapter to be responsible for a collective compilation of study flashcards to be used for the upcoming test or referred to regularly for clarification/study → this gives a sense of responsibility to your peers and nurtures a collaborative learning effort.
To test out the the Apps, I downloaded a couple on my phone to get the scoop on what I might want to use in my classroom.
Cram: (Free, compatible with Android and Iphone):
-Cram was very easy to use, you can sign in with your facebook or google account, making it easy to connect with peers and students.
-You can either make your own sets of flashcards, OR search for topics and browse sets of flashcards made by other app users.
-You have the option to add photos and descriptions to the flashcards
-There are 2 different modes to study: memorization, where you go through each flashcard one at a time until your run out, and cram, where you go through all the cards until you get them all right.
MY RATING: 4/5 Easy to use, and simple.
Quizlet Flashcards and Learning: (Free, android and iphone)
-This is mostly the same idea as Cram, you cansign in with facebook or google app, and then can either create your own sets of flashcards or browse sets made by others.
-The design was simpler to nagivate (for me personally) than Cram, as you can scroll down the flashcards, giving the option to skip through.
-There is also an audio option to have the cards “read out.”
-3 modes of studying: The first is “Flashcards”. In this mode, the user goes through the flashcards one by one at their own pace. Students can also flip the cards so that the answers show. This is a great way to solidify information after it is learned.
The second mode is “”Learn”. In this mode, the question is shown and the user types in the answer. If the user gets the answer correct, the app moves on. If not, the app shows the answer but requires that the user type in the correct answer before moving on. This extra step shows the thought put into the app, as making the student type in the right answer assists in their retention.
The third mode is “Match”. In this mode, all the flashcards are laid out and the user taps the pairs of hint and answer cards that belong together. This mode makes studying fun and takes it to another level by using a timer. The user is motivated to improve their time, thus further helping the student learn.
MY RATING: 5/5 Quizlet takes it to the next level! I was impressed with how well thought out it was for facilitating learning.
StudyBlue (Basic is free, optional upgrades for $$)
-There are more options than just flashcards for study modes. There are flip-cards, quizzes, and review sheets on offer.
-How you use the flashcards is very customizable. You can also chose how the cards are presented (easiest to hardest, least studied first) and how the questions are framed (multiple choice, type the answer, true/false)
-StudyBlue engages multiple senses allwoing for more cognitive connections, by allowing students to imput and edit text, photos, as well as recorded audio.
-As AWESOME as this app is, you do sacrifice a bit of usability, as it requires internet to function (no offline mode like the other two apps.) The free version is thorough, but there are ads, and you do not have access to the resources and study guides on the website.
-For Pro (10/month or 84$ annual fee) you get access to unlimited study guides, notes, and flashcards on the website, along with other perks!
MY RATING: 4/5 SO many options for customized learning! I took away points only because it would be better for the classroom if it were more accessible (free, and offline modes.)