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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Build-Your-Own Flashcards: Online and Mobile Devices

If you want to make the most of your downtime while waiting in line, in the doctor’s office, or getting ready for an event, flashcards in on your phone or tablet can help you build your vocabulary. The nice thing about flashcards is that there are many places that allow you to build your own flashcards, as well as access ones that have been created and are being shared.

If you’re interested in creating your own online flashcards, you may wish to check out the following free resources:

You can make cards in English, Spanish, or French, and can incorporate images. You can share your quizzes with your friends or students. It’s also mobile-friendly, and can be used on the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Windows Phone, Kindle Fire and Nook.  You can also generate matching games that include a clock to give you practice working under time pressures.

Free online flash cards that you can create and share. You don’t have to sign up, but can simply log in with your email address. You can use questions as well as terms. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to add graphics at this time, which limits the ways you can use it. For example, for Human Anatomy, it would be good to include at least a sketch.

Scholastic Homework Hub:
This is a very easy-to-use interface designed for young users. You can print the flashcards. It does not support graphics.

Flashcard Machine:
The interface is easy to use. No graphics are supported. The existing archives of shared flashcards contain cards with very weird definitions. This is a great example of how you must be careful to align your flashcard definitions with official content.

ProProfs Flashcard Maker:
Can create downloadable flashcards so that it is not necessary to be connected to the cloud. Can also print flashcards.  Does not allow graphics to be uploaded.

Can create and save flashcards in many languages. According to the website, there are more than 47 million flashcards in their flashcard library.  There is an amazing array of topics in the library, in subject matters as intriguing as Canine Acupuncture points. Unfortunately, there are no graphics. The ads are pretty intrusive.

This is a very versatile app that does not say it creates flashcards (except in its very thorough and easy to follow manual), but the approach and the functionality are very similar.  The overall learning goals are to reinforce active recall. Anki is functional across a surprising number of platforms and mobile devices. I also appreciated learning that it's optimized for low bandwidth, to reduce data transfer costs. The app is free for download, and the interface is refreshingly clear of annoying and intrusive ads. For that reason, I recommend donating to support it.

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