Monday, November 18, 2013

App Review: Flashcards [+]

There are a ton of flashcard apps out there in the App Store. Finding a good one can be tricky and time-consuming. So to help you out in that process, here's a look at one that I think could be pretty useful in your classroom. It has a flashy name, Flashcard [+], and it's a free download. A shout out to Michael Collins at Battle High School for showing it to me.

First off, don't let the woodgrain throw you off. It's quite a contemporary app. Flashcards lets you easily create multiple decks of cards. All of your decks are easily accessible from their main screen. Simply press once on a deck to open it up and start practicing. Or you can press and hold on the deck in order to access additional features or add cards to your deck.

Creating Cards
One of the best features of this app is the ability to create cards with lots of different components. You can choose to create cards with simple text by either typing it or copy/paste. Or you can insert images along with your text. Or you can draw your own images. With all these options, you can see how it can fit with any age or content area. Students can study based on images they've taken with the camera or found online. They could draw their own images for math or science content. Lots of possibilities. What's more, you can choose to include the picture on the back, front, or both sides of the card.

Enter text alongside your image.
Study Options
Once you have your cards created, then it's time to study. Open up your deck and begin. Your cards will show up. Press the card to flip it over to reveal the answer. Then you can mark the card with "I know". Marking it as "I know" tells the app to show it to you less often. There are options for sorting your cards or filtering them so you can focus on a particular set. One setting lets you view the cards in a movie mode that flips the cards automatically at an interval that you set. Change the size of the card for easier viewing. 

Create Shared Decks
Draw your own shapes for math.
Now all of this is available without an account, which makes me a fan. But teachers (or those impersonating teachers) have access to additional sharing features if you sign in with an account. One of the best pieces for teachers is the ability to create classes to share your decks. When you create a shared deck, you get a link and passcode to email to students. Then they'll have access to the decks you've created for them. It's easy to duplicate decks that you've already created and move those into class folders. You can also share content through Facebook, but that's not something I explored.

That's about it. Overall, I think Flashcards [+] is a great app that I would use with my students. Although study skills are important, I think students creating their own study materials is even more important. This app gives teachers the ability to do both. 

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