When I started researching for this post, my mind came up with dozens of ideas for using digital flashcard apps. Naturally, you can use flashcards for vocabulary and definitions. But the other possibilities are endless. Imagine, as teachers develop lessons, they create sets of cards that cover their lecture notes at the same time. This would take just a few extra minutes as the details are already typed up. After teachers use traditional means to teach the facts, they assign the cards for students to study.
Decks can contain anything from simple multiplication fact practice to learning complex sets of information such as features of each planet in our solar system. History teachers can create cards with famous people and their accomplishments or events and their significance. Are you beginning to think of ideas too?
Why Use Flashcards
Studies are constantly being conducted on how the mind works. Clearing your head by exercising before studying has been proven to improve memory and cognitive processing. Selecting the right time of day to study also plays a large role in your ability to learn. Finding a quiet location away from distractions such as television and cell phones will better help you process information. Even though many factors can improve your ability to memorize large pieces of information, sometimes nothing beats using the traditional study method of using flashcards.
This video explains how using repetition helps people memorize information. It goes over 11 memorization tips.
Digital Flashcard Apps
Back to flashcards… I have included reviews for 5 digital flashcard apps. See which site will work best for your needs.
Anki is a free program you can download on your computer. If you need the app from your iPhone/iPad/iPod, you must purchase it.
- Anki comes in many versions including Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- It is quick and easy to install.
- You can get shared decks, create your own, and import files.
- The website has a detailed instruction guide.
- Users can add images to their cards.
- Notes are easily edited.
- Anki tracks your progress and sets up spaced repetition.
- Cards are multi-sided.
- The program contains text-to-speech.
- You can sync your cards across devices.
- The program takes a while to master. It is not easy for a beginner. You must know a little about coding to make the cards look attractive; however, many Youtube videos show how to understand the complications.
- You must pay for the application for an iOS device.
Quizlet is an interactive study tool that engages students in the memorization of material.
- Quizlet is free and easy to use.
- The program is online which means it can be used on all types of devices without downloading software to your computer.
- Quizlet has several ways to view information. The flashcard “flip” feature resembles paper cards. Other options include:
- Learn – This is a quiz to help users know what to study.
- Write – type answers
- Spell – type what you hear
- Test – generates random tests including multiple-choice, true/false, and matching questions
- Two Games – Match and Gravity
- Live – Teams compete in a collaborative game.
- Users can add images and import notes which the program turns into flashcards.
- The program has an audio feature.
- Teachers can embed decks into webpages to make them easy to access.
- Teachers must pay for a subscription plan to track student progress.
- Quizlet contains ads.
- Teachers must review activities created by others to make sure all answers are correct before assigning to students.
RemNote divides topics into a hierarchy. Ideas are organized into main idea (parent) and details (child). The purpose is to help learners understand small bits of knowledge which is divided into flashcards.
- RemNote uses spaced repetition.
- The program allows the user to set up the structure of the parent/child connections. This information helps the user make connections between bits of knowledge.
- RemNote contains an edit button to select cards to edit later, so you don’t have to stop and restart in the middle of studying a deck.
- You can create flashcards and take notes at the same time.
- The program is overwhelming to learn how to use with its many features.
Brainscape is a flashcard tool that helps users learn huge lists on many topics.
- Brainscape makes it easy to create cards.
- The flexible tool is visually appealing.
- Teachers can create flashcards for specific needs.
- Clearly, marked progress helps time decks.
- You must pay for the pro version to add images and sound or to use other user’s decks.
- Students self-report progress.
- The free class is public.
- The app can become costly with in-app purchases.
- While it is recommended for age 12 and older, the tool is better for high school and college levels.
- The free version only allows you to use text.
Cram is a web-based flashcard maker.
- front and back of the card using text and (optionally) images
- The program allows for hints.
- Cards you get wrong will appear again.
- Users can choose to study the cards using matching, multiple-choice, true/false, or fill-in-the-blank tests.
- The program is easy to use.
- Cards may be private or public.
- A large number of pre-made cards are available.
- The site contains ads.
- The cards are plain/not catchy in appearance.