Friday, January 10, 2014

By Request - Flip, Flash, Study - 10 Free Flashcard Services for Students

This afternoon on the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page someone asked me if I knew of any free tools for creating flashcards. This list is comprised of ten services chosen from the dozens of flashcard services that I've tried over the last seven years. The list is not arranged in any particular order other than the one in which these tools were pulled from my archives.

Quizlet is a popular flashcard service that students can use in their web browsers or install as apps on their iOS and Android devices. Quizlet offers some helpful features in addition to the standard options of creating and sharing sets of flashcards. Quizlet offers a text-to-speech mode in eighteen languages. Second, they launched a new study mode that they've name "speller." Speller mode plays words for you that you then have to type correctly into the space provided. If you misspell the word that is read to you, Quizlet will show you your errors. Quizlet flashcards can be used without an internet connection if you have the Android or iOS app installed on your mobile device.

Cobocards is an online and mobile flashcard system that I first reviewed about fifteen months ago. Cobocards is available to use in a web browser as well as an iPhone and an Android app. Cobocards has a gallery of public flashcard collections that students can sort through to find flashcards for the topic(s) they're studying. If students create their own flashcards on Cobocards, they will be provided with PDF copies of their flashcards that they can print to study offline. Of course, they can also study flashcards online. When students study their flashcards online or through the mobile apps, Cobocards will keep track of their results for them. Finally, Cobocards allows students to share flashcards publicly or privately.

Easy Notecards is an online flashcard service that allows you to create flashcards that are text-based and create flashcards that utilize images. Like many other online flashcard services, Easy Notecards provides a gallery of public sets of flashcards. Some of the flashcard sets in the public gallery are connected to textbooks. This is accomplished when users creating flashcards opt to enter information about the textbook from which they are working to create flashcards. For example, if I was creating a set of flashcards about the American Civil War and using the textbook The Americans, I could enter the book title and chapter that matches the flashcards I am creating. Then when others search the gallery of flashcards they could search by topic or search by textbook title.

Faux Flash is an easy-to-use flashcard service. On Faux Flash you can create your own flashcard sets or browse for sets created and shared by other users. All flashcards that you create with Faux Flash can include images in the questions and answers. You can register for Faux Flash using your email address, Twitter account, or Facebook account.

ExamTime is a free service that middle school, high school, and college students can use to prepare for tests. I tend to like any service that offers a mind map option for students and ExamTime does so I had to try it out. When students signs into their ExamTime accounts they can create flashcards, mind maps, and practice quizzes to help them study. Students can arrange their materials into topics. All materials can be shared with other Examtime users.

Cram is a free online flashcard service that used to be known as Flashcard DB and Flashcard Exchange. The latest version of the service keeps the same concept as earlier versions, just with a different name. On Cram you can search through a database of more than 50 million online flashcards. As you browse through the flashcards you can add them to sets that you create and store in your account. If you cannot find the flashcards for you in the Cram database, Cram gives you tools to create your own flashcards. You can create flashcards on an individual basis or in a group by importing a CSV file.

Flashcard Stash is a free vocabulary flashcard service for teachers and students. The service makes it easy to quickly create flashcards and sets of flashcards. As a registered user of Flashcard Stash when you type a word into a blank flashcard suggested definitions and sample context sentences are provided to you. You can then choose to add one or all of those definitions and sentences to your flashcard or you can write your own definitions and sentences. When making your own flashcards you can include images. If you don't have time to create your own flashcards you can choose to work with some of the pre-made lists of flashcards. Teachers registered on Flashcard Stash can create flashcard sets to share with their students. Teachers can create and manage multiple class lists within their accounts. Sharing class lists can be done by inviting students to view the flashcards via email or by posting a password-protected link to the lists on a class blog. The second method requires students to remember the password that you have created to access the list. Word lists can also be embedded into blogs or websites.

Flippity is a free tool for creating flashcards from data in a Google Spreadsheet. Flippity provides clear directions for the simple steps to take to create your flashcards. To create your flashcards use the Flippity template, enter your data, publish the spreadsheet to the web, then grab your Flippity link. Your Flippity link will take you to a Flippity page on which you and your students can flip through your flashcards. Flippity includes a shuffle function and an option to remove cards from your deck of flashcards as you flip through them.

Classmint is a free online flashcard service. Like other services similar to it, Classmint can be used to create and share sets of flashcards. A couple of aspects of Classmint make it different from some other flashcard services. First, Classmint will read your flashcards to you. Second, in addition to supporting the use of images in your flashcard, Classmint allows you to annotate those images on your flashcards.

Card Kiwi is a flashcard service whose appeal is its simplicity. Flashcards on Card Kiwi are text only. As you flip through your flashcards you rate your understanding by simply clicking thumbs up, thumbs down, or thumbs sideways. Card Kiwi will show you the cards that you rate with a thumbs down or thumbs sideways more often than the others until you're using the thumbs up on every card in your set.

Disclosure: Classmint is currently an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers. 

Wolfram Alpha Examples for Students and Teachers

Colleen Young's Mathematics, Learning and Web 2.0 is a good blog to subscribe to for practical, do-now mathematics instruction ideas. When you visit her blog make sure you click the "Wolfram Alpha" tab under which you will find seven slideshows containing examples of how students can use Wolfram Alpha. The examples correspond to questions posted on her mathematics blog for students.

If you haven't used Wolfram Alpha before or you're trying to introduce it to people who have not used, take a look at the following Planet Nutshell explanation of how Wolfram Alpha works and what makes it different from Google search.

An Animated Overview of the Earth's Climate History

Last fall I shared a list of a half dozen resources that help students see the effects of climate change. This afternoon I Stumbled Upon another good resource to go along with that list. The BBC News offers this short overview of the history of the Earth's climate changes. The two and a half minute animation does a nice job of combining graphs and images along with narration to explain three major eras of the Earth's climate.

Applications for Education
The BBC's animated journey through the Earth's climate history could be a good resource to use as part of a larger introduction to broad themes in a study of climate change.

A Cartoon Explanation and Game About International Trade

The multimedia library on The Economist contains a set of cartoon videos explaining some big concepts in economics. Of the six cartoon the cartoon on international trade has the broadest appeal. The video is appropriate as an introduction to the topic for middle school and high school students.

After watching the video on international trade have your students put their new knowledge to use in Trading Around the World from the International Monetary Fund. The object of the game is to provide students with knowledge of the variables affecting international trade. Students experience the impact of each variable by playing the game as a representative of a country or region that is trying to buy or sell resources. The overall object of the game is to accumulate cash through buying and selling natural resources.

An Excellent Model of Using ArcGIS in Education

Last month I shared a review of an excellent mapping tool called ArcGIS Online. This morning I found a fantastic example of using ArcGIS in education. Seth Dixon has created an ArcGIS map that contains 54 placemarks. Each placemark contains a video related to the marked location.

The neat thing about ArcGIS maps is that the videos play in a timeline at the bottom of the map rather than in the placemarks themselves. You can scroll through the videos and click on one to see the corresponding placemark or click on a placemark to see the corresponding video.

I have not watched all of the video in Seth Dixon's Place-based Geography Videos map. The ones that I did watch and the titles of the others indicate that this map could be a good resource for high school students to explore to learn about contemporary issues around the world.