Quizlet Live: Life Beyond Flashcards
Type of technology: Web-based and App
SAMR Model Rating: Augmentation
Grade level: All
Subject area: All
Cost: Free or $24.99 for upgraded Teacher version
I know what you’re thinking: Quizlet is so last year, right? Well, yes, and no. While Quizlet has been around since 2007, it has recently become more than just an electronic flashcard website. With over 125 million study sets available for students, Quizlet is one of the top 50 educational websites, and it just got better with Quizlet Live.
With Quizlet Live, teachers can launch study sets in the classroom with a join code and students can compete in randomly assigned teams to answer correctly. The correct answer will only appear on the screen of one student in the group, so the teams must work together to make sure that they select an accurate response. If someone chooses poorly, the team total will be reset to zero, and they must work together to regain their position. A leaderboard will be visible on the teacher’s screen and can be projected in the classroom.
Warning: this collaborative review will be rowdy. Students get loud and competitive, and I can attest that they love using this tool for test review.
If you are unfamiliar with the traditional usage of Quizlet, here is some helpful info:
Quizlet employs user-generated terms and definitions. With access to literally millions of sets, students can review just about any topic from intermediate Spanish to early American history. Quizlet focuses on ease of use and memorization. For free, students can search for and create sets and learn using six study methods, ranging from a Test mode to Galaxy gameplay. For a small fee, they can upload their own images and voice recordings. Similarly, teachers can purchase an account in order to create online classes and monitor student participation, an option that I recommend highly.
Despite options for online play and study tracking, Quizlet is neither a social network nor a true learning management system. The platform is not designed for assessment, for it lacks a grade book, and students interact solely via the educational materials themselves. Although I suspect creative educators might conceive of subversive ways to use the platform to foster critical thinking, it should be noted that Quizlet engages little of Bloom’s taxonomy, for the platform solely serves memorization.
This points out a possible concern with the service. Given that the vast majority of Quizlet content is user-created, some educators worry about the validity of the content. The vast majority of errors I identified, however, were simply misspellings. User ratings discourage factual inaccuracies and the posting of inappropriate content.
Another benefit is that Quizlet offers six study modes to accommodate different types of learners. Users can cycle through simple flashcards or use the fill-in-the-blank mode to practice spelling. It is important to note that Quizlet is a stickler for spelling; students must enter terms exactly. I am fond of Speller, which asks students to type what they hear. Not only does this mode utilize the platform’s excellent speech-to-text capabilities, it also allows the student to choose the narration speed, which is ideal for language acquisition. Unfortunately, the platform cannot analyze pronunciation. Even with that caveat, I can see this tool being particularly helpful in an English Language Learners classroom. Quizlet also includes a pair of games. In Scatter, users drag corresponding items onto one another. Gravity, meanwhile, asks users to type definitions before terms disappear. In both instances, Quizlet tracks time so students can compete against one another. Teachers can track student performance and offer incentives for top performers of the week.
Although Quizlet is not designed for formal assessment, the platform does include a Test mode, through which users may select various question types, including written, matching, multiple-choice, and true/false. Teachers might use this mode for pop quizzes. I print them and use them in class for vocabulary practice and final assessments
Quizlet’s Teacher account costs $25 per year, and it allows educators to curate study sets and monitor how students interact with those sets. Configuration is straightforward; students can register for accounts using Google, Facebook, or an email address, and educators create classes to which they add sets. Teachers may also invite students to online classes using a simple join link. The upgraded version allows teachers to see who is and is not studying, and how they are studying. The teacher account makes their struggles visible, allowing for individual intervention. Quizlet data is valuable because it is non-assessment data. Students interact with materials differently when they do not feel they are being evaluated. In an era of omnipresent standardized testing, Quizlet can help to make visible the processes through which students learn. It can also enable educators to help at-risk students before they fail a high-stakes test. While its emphasis on rote learning is prescriptive, Quizlet is an excellent service that deserves a place in online learning. It is inviting for students to use, simple for educators to configure, and affordable for administrators to implement.
- Simple to use and configure
- Quickly create study sets or choose from millions of user-generated sets
- Six distinct study modes
- Generous language localizations and excellent text-to-speech technology
- Affordable: free accounts available
- iOS and Android apps available
- Only suited for quizzing on certain types of information
- Answers must exactly match inputs
- Limited interoperability
- Some user-generated spelling errors
THE BOTTOM LINE:
While it may be limited in scope, Quizlet provides a simple, user-centric online tool for rote learning, and almost every academic course requires memorizing vocabulary of some sort. Give Quizlet a second look, and you may be surprised to discover how easy it is to use and how effective it is for students. Take some of the drudgery out of memorization and add in the opportunity for collaboration; Quizlet and Quizlet Live are great tools for teachers and students to learn together, using their device of choice.