Flashcards are one of the most tried and true memory aids. The tools featured below bring this technique into the digital age, improving on the concept in many different ways. Not only are digital flashcards much easier to create (not to mention eco-friendly), but like many tools on the web, allow for the inclusion of multimedia in addition to standard text.
Instructors or students can create their own flashcard sets, share those sets with others, and peruse the tens of thousands of flashcard sets already shared publicly on each of these platforms. In addition to allowing learners to flip between two sides of a virtual card, each tool can take the terms and definitions and create fun games on the fly to help students learn the material more quickly and in a variety of ways. Take a look at the tools below and see if you can think of ways to use them in your class.
Quizlet is the most known and widely used online flashcard tool. Like any good flashcard application, it allows the creation of digital flashcards with term and definition (which can be represented by an image) that animate the flipping motion. It also features an automatic text-to-speech tool for help with pronunciation available in several languages. Where this tool gets really exciting is in the different ways that a flashcard set can be used; in addition to standard flashcard mode, Quizlet features several other study modes including fill-in-the-blank (called “learn”), spelling (useful for those complex scientific or foreign language terms), and a testing mode, as well as two “gamified” study modes: scatter and space race.
Instructors or students can use this freemium tool to create study sets. Most features are free, but access to certain additional features will require an annual subscription. Purchasing the annual subscription allows you to record your own voice for flashcards as well as track individual student progress on learning the terminology. Like many tools, Quizlet flashcard sets can be used at quizlet.com or embedded on another webpage or course site. Quizlet also has a dedicated mobile app for learning on the go.
StudyBlue is another popular online flashcard creator, which includes similar features to Quizlet. It is perhaps a slightly busier interface, but is still entirely usable. It allows for the addition of text or images, but it doesn’t have alternative study modes (which is really where Quizlet shines). It does feature the ability to add custom audio as part of the free version, which Quizlet doesn’t. This tool also offers much more in the way of text formatting options that can be quite useful: superscripts and subscripts, bulleted lists, and special characters. It also is a freemium tool that allows instructors, students, or life-long learners to create flashcard sets, but upgrading doesn’t appear to have a lot of useful features. Most users will be satisfied with all that’s offered in the free version.