A great new resource from Microsoft Education Labs – Flashcards

The resource maybe new, but the idea I can remember from my own primary school days. Microsoft Education Labs have created a 21st century version of flashcards.  Flashcards remain one of the best tools for memorising information. Used by teachers and students to remember facts, dates and vocabulary, the most common way to create flashcards is to use pieces of card. A question is written the on one side and the answer on the opposite side, students can test themselves repeatedly.  This is great for visual learners, but the experience and effectiveness of this method of learning can be greatly enhanced, to encompass a broader range of learning styles, if you could add sound, images and feedback on how you are doing. This new resource has the functionality to add all of those features.

imageYou can find the flashcards at http://flashcards.educationlabs.com/ . You can view any of the flashcard decks, but to create your own and use the study features, you will need to sign in with your Windows Live ID. Once signed in click Create and you will see a screen that allows you to create your card, the left hand side of the card is for the ‘question’ and the right for the ‘answer’. The great thing is that you can use images and add audio, allowing you to create resources for all subjects, age groups and abilities.

The really great feature is the reporting tool which records the usual details of how many you got right or wrong, as well as how well you are memorising the information and the time it took you to complete the deck. Which makes it ideal for self and peer assessment.

Creating a deck is very easy, I managed to create a deck to teach the welsh words for various colours in a matter of minutes. This would be a resource I would have used when I was teaching 10-11 year old pupils the welsh language, which is compulsory in schools in Wales. Flashcards are an integral strategy in language teaching. When I was in the classroom , I would have converted all my flashcard resources to this online version. This would mean that my pupils could practice at home and work with their parents (the majority of which would have been non-welsh speakers). They would have been able to bring in their own and parent’s reports on how well they are doing, resulting in a great little piece of parental engagement. I think pupils making their own Flashcard decks, highlighting their own learning would be a great activity. This would also make a great interactive whiteboard activity, a lesson starter or lesson reflection.

These flashcards are by no means just for primary pupils, secondary students and teachers could use them for revision purposes. with specific subject facts being imagesupported with visual and audio clues. Imagine how useful a flashcard deck to learning the periodic table would be to your students.

You will need to install the latest version of silverlight to use this resource. If you would like to try out my welsh colours Flashcards, then click on this link http://bit.ly/c9BsgI , then click on ‘Llwyiau’. You will then be able to view and listen to the deck, if you sign in with your Live ID, you can test yourself on how well you are doing learning these words.

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