Friday, February 23, 2018

iDea - Quizlet

This is the first of a semi-regular series which will outline suggested apps/tools/technology that could help enhance learning and teaching.


Quizlet icon
After the exams last year, I asked the pupils if they used technology to help them study. Quizlet was one of the most commonly mentioned tools. At one level, Quizlet is an electronic version of good old fashioned flashcards (see Wikipedia for description of flashcards) which can be useful when trying to memorise terms and definitions. Since Quizlet is computer based, it has the potential to be much more powerful than paper based flashcards. In particular, the ability to share sets as well as being able to borrow and adapt sets that others have created could be a significant time saver.

There are two things I particularly like about Quizlet. I like the potential for collaborative work. Pupils can create and share sets; they can work together on Quizlet Live and teachers can build on and work with other educators. I also like the diagrams feature; not something I've used with a class yet, but it looks particularly promising (examples on the Learning In Hand page cover Spanish, French, Geography...).

If you are unfamiliar with Quizlet, the website gives a quick introduction in the form of a Teacher FAQ. There are a set of useful links at the bottom of this post but for visual learners, here are a couple of videos:

1) Brief look at the iPad app - focus is on how pupils could use it to help them learn terms.

2) Brief look at the website - focus is on using classes to share cards with pupils including a quick look at diagrams.

If you are unfamiliar with Quizlet, here is a slideshow that takes you through the basics:

Quizlet - other links:

One stop shop: Diigo Quizlet bookmarks

Reading blog

We are in the process of setting up reading groups on the Goodreads website to use with pupils in our school. The idea is to set up reading groups, share reading lists and get children to write and publish reviews.

Sample Poster
Sample Poster
I thought it would be interesting to tie Goodreads into another school initiative - the "Currently reading" posters. All members of staff are encouraged to update a poster and display it on their door to show what they are currently reading. It's part of a campaign to create a culture of reading in the school.

I wanted to combine the posters with Goodreads. Rather than just show what I'm currently reading, I could link to Goodreads which tracks my progress, lets me publish a review when I am finished and records which books I've completed so far this year. Or at least, that was the plan...

The trick was to share links to specific sections of Goodreads. The best way I could find was to use the widgets provided by Goodreads to place the details in a blog and then share the blog posts.

The result: Mr Muir's Reading Blog. Only a few posts so far but a couple of key sections are:
Put some QR codes on the poster to link to the relevant sections and job done. At least, job done assuming anybody bothers to scan the QR codes and read the blog. 

What do you think? Daft idea? Vaguely interesting? Please leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or suggestions.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Back again!

A long overdue return to blogging...

First post for ages. Hopefully not the last.