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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holiday Edition: 10 Places to Make and Find Flashcards

Believe it or not, I'm actually taking a couple of days off from going online. I know that not everyone celebrates the same holidays that I do so I am reposting some of the most popular posts of the last two years. This is one of them.

Flashcards are one of the simplest and most common ways to study for a test. Free Technology for Teachers has featured numerous flashcard resources in the past. Here are ten good places to create and find flashcards online.

1. Cramberry allows users to share flashcards with other users. After creating your flashcards you can contribute to a public gallery of flashcards. If you don't have time to make flashcards of your own, you can search for and study flashcards in the public gallery. To use the flashcards you will need to create a Cramberry account. For your students that have iPhones (none of my students have one) Cramberry now has an iPhone app called Flash-Me.

2. Flashcards created using Funnel Brain can include a "third side" to a flashcard. A side that contains the explanation for the answer to a question. In addition to text Funnel Brain flashcards can include videos, audio, and pictures. Under your videos and images you can type your question, answer, or explanation. Just as with many other flashcard services Funnel Brain flashcards can be shared with other users.

3. Ediscio is a little different from a lot of flashcard creation tools because Ediscio lets you build sets of flashcards individually or with the help of other Ediscio users. The other distinguishing feature of Ediscio is that flashcards can include images. (Ediscio is also featured in Twelve Essentials for Technology Integration).

4. Cobocards, like other flashcard services, allows you to create customized sets of flashcards. One of the key differences between Cobocards and other flashcard services is that Cobocards provides you with pdf copies of your flashcards that you can print to study offline. Of course, you can study also study your flashcards online.

5. Flashcard DB is one of the most well-designed free flashcard programs that I've seen on the web. Flashcard DB, like most flashcard programs, allows you to browse existing sets of flashcards or create your own custom set of flashcards. What makes Flashcard DB different from its competitors is the study methods that can be used with the flashcards. Flashcard DB allows students to study using the Leitner System or the Graded Space Repetition Method.

6. On Quizlet you can make your own flashcards or study from publicly shared sets of flashcards. Quizlet offers you the ability to study your cards in five different ways including playing a couple of games with your cards. When creating your flashcards you can enter information for each card individually or import information from a text document to be used in your card set. If you don't have the time to create your set of flashcards, browse the publicly shared flashcards.

7. Study Stack is one of the better review game creation tools that I've tried. Study Stack allows teachers and students to create flashcards, crossword puzzles, matching games, word searches, and other classic study games for any subject area. You can create a game using any type of numerical or text data. Once you're data is in your account, you can use that data to create multiple games.

8. On Muchobeets students can create their own customized "stack" of flashcards. For students preparing for a general exam like the SAT, Muchobeets has a good collection of publicly shared vocabulary flashcards. The Muchobeets service is very easy to use. If you want to make your own flashcards simply register with your email address and get started using the very intuitive flashcard creation template. No registration is required if you want to use the publicly shared stacks of flashcards.

9. Knowtes is a great resource for finding or making all kinds of flashcards. The Knowtes library is full of ready to use decks of flashcards covering subjects appropriate from Kindergarten through college. The option to download a library of flashcards is the best feature of the Knowtes program. Students who have laptops can download flashcards and use them to study without having to find an Internet connection. For example, in the district where I teach every middle school student is given a laptop, but many students do not have Internet access at home. Being able to download study tools is very useful for those students.

10.
Flashcard Flash is a handy little search engine designed for one purpose, helping you find sets of flashcards. Flashcard Flash was built using Google Custom Search. Flashcard Flash searches six different flashcard services including Flashcard DB, Quizlet, and Study Stack all of which I've previously reviewed and found to be excellent services.

Holiday Edition: Least Restrictive Environment for Educators

Believe it or not, I'm actually taking a couple of days off from going online. I know that not everyone celebrates the same holidays that I do so I am reposting some of the most popular posts of the last two years. This is one of them.

I usually don't write much about the philosophy and politics of school leadership because it doesn't really fit with the purpose of this blog. But Dr. Scott McLeod put out a call for all edubloggers to post their thoughts about school leadership today. This post is my contribution to Leadership Day 2009.

In my work with special education students over the last six years, I have consistently heard from special education teachers and administrators the refrain of "creating a least restrictive environment for students." The idea being that in a least restrictive environment students have the most opportunities to experience new things, explore their creativity, and grow personally and academically. I completely agree with these ideas.

The irony I see in school leadership with regards to technology in the classroom is that often, by imposing strict internet filters, school leaders don't create a least restrictive environment for their faculty. Some of the most restrictive environments that I've heard of include the blocking of wiki services, gmail, and Google image search (which recently added Creative Commons search). By restricting access to the internet, including such innocuous things as Yahoo mail, schools limit the ability of teachers to use their creativity in lesson planning.

I understand that schools are worried about lawsuits arising from student access to the internet. At the same time if school leaders are filtering the internet out of fear or misunderstanding of the law they are not helping their teachers prepare students for life after high school. (Please note that I did not say "prepare students for the 21st century." We're a decade into the 21st century we should stop saying "21st century skills" and just say "skills" or "skills for academic and professional success.") To address these fears and misunderstandings, Wes Fryer and others created Unmasking the Digital Truth. If you're a school administrator or a teacher who works in a district that doesn't create a least restrictive internet environment, please visit Unmasking the Digital Truth.

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