4 Study Apps To Prepare Students for Assessments
Until recently, I struggled with whether or not my students had enough material or study aids to review for Unit Assessments. I have tried flip books, review sheets, and review games, and I have found that they took up valuable instruction time. In the last few years I have come across a few websites and study apps that have helped students become better prepared for assessments and helped to put my mind at ease that I have given them enough materials to review for a test. I can’t say that I prefer one over the other. I feel by teaching students how to use the study apps and sites, students will find the one that works best with how they learn and study.
My search for a study app began with Brainscape. I was taking a class that had unit assessments that required the learner to remember a significant amount of information. At the Brainscape site I created flash cards. Question on one side, answer on the other. When you prompt the card to turn over to reveal the answer you have the ability to rate how comfortable you were with the question by rating it on a scale of 1 you did not know it that well to 5 you knew it perfectly. The lower the rating you give it the more the card will repeat until you rate it a 5. It’s a great resource, you can share your cards by giving students a direct URL. Once you share it with students you will be able to see who has used it and how many cards they have reviewed.
Quizlet offered the same features as Brainscape, however; they include some games along with a test feature. Students do enjoy playing some of the games such as scatter or speller. The most valuable feature of this site is that it takes the information you put in, such as vocabulary words and definitions, and turns it into a test. You can choose the format that you want to be tested in such as true/false, multiple choice, matching, or written. The site will collect data on how students are performing and what they have studied. Quizlet is perfect for vocabulary words. If you want to ask open-ended questions you will find that in the testing feature of the site you might not always get what you want. It can still be done, but you'll need to change the wording of the question.
Just when I thought I had enough to give students along came Kahoot. This game works best when you have a smart board and each student has a device. With Kahoot you create multiple-choice questions and then give students a site to go to along with the game id number. When the game begins the question appears on the smartboard. The students will answer the question using their device. Students will receive points based on accuracy and the speed they answer the question. After all students answer the question before the next question appears it will show you who is in the lead and how many points each player has. Each time I use it there is a high level of energy and excitement. The only drawback was that this game needed multiple devices and can be best enjoyed in the classroom.
Just weeks after using Kahoot, @quizalizeapp started following me on Twitter. When it said, “create your own quizzes” on their profile I figured they were worth looking into. Quizalize allows learners to compete against one another. The competition part of the app works best if you use a smartboard so that students can see how they are doing against one another. You can you Quizalize for homework assignments, as a game, or to collect data on how students are answering the questions.
Each of the study apps has great customer service and is easy to use. I use all of them for each unit assessment and like the features and options that they provide for students. Each of these apps took me no longer than five minutes to figure out. If you have difficulty, there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube.
John Heeg has taught Social Studies for over 16 years in New York, and is a mentor for the first-year teachers. He received the Bright Light Award from Suffolk Asset for use of technology in the classroom. Follow John on Twitter @dpmrheeg or see his LinkedIn profile here.