Flashcards - 21st Century Style

When it comes to studying math facts, vocabulary words, etc..., flashcards have always been a great tool to use. It got me thinking how can we take this concept and bring it into the 21st century? What would make it more interesting and exciting to students, so they would be more likely to use the flashcards?

The fourth and fifth grade students are busy learning the titles and authors of 40 different books for a reading competition. The past two weeks in Library I quizzed them on a few of the titles and authors and could see that they were not making any progress. Most of them still did not know the information. We're not using mobile devices here at school yet (hopefully this will be a possibility in the near future), so I downloaded a free flashcard app to my iPhone. Then I created a stack of cards with the titles and authors. When the fourth and fifth graders came to Library this week, we used the digital flashcards on my iPhone and all of a sudden it was much more fun and exciting to do! Many of the students have iPod touches and other devices at home, so I suggested they create their own flashcards to study with.

What can students do if they don't have a mobile learning device of their own? What if your school isn't allowing students to bring their mobile learning devices to school? In PowerPoint, students could create a slide with a vocabulary word, math fact, etc... The next slide could reveal the answer. Students could quiz themselves or work with a partner or group to study. The downside is that this requires you to be working at a computer.

Students could quiz each other from the comfort of their own homes using an online whiteboard site like Scriblink, Dabbleboard, Twiddla, or Scribblar.

Perhaps students could record themselves using a USB microphone stating the facts and answers. These could be uploaded to Audioboo, saved on the computer, or burned to a disc to be played back later.

If you and your students are using a site like Edmodo or Twiducate, the students could quiz each other by posting a message to the whole class or to another student in the class.

These are just some of the many ways to bring the idea of flashcards into the 21st century. No matter which of these approaches your students decide to use, they'll be ahead of the game just be taking the time create their study aid. It's really a win-win situation!

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