I had the privilege of presenting for Quizlet at The Education Show last week and wanted to take this opportunity to talk about this excellent FREE resource as a way to engage pupils in recall and retrieval activities. This post will highlight the key features of Quizlet and why I think it is worth using. With an increased focus on mastery learning, as advocated by Bloom and others, this tool is a brilliant way to help students 'bring back' information from their long-term memory. I loved working with Rachel, Loretta and the team on the Quizlet stand and then presenting for them to increase their exposure in the UK market. Their mission is:
“To help students (and their teachers) practise and master whatever they are learning by providing engaging, customisable activities.”
This is simply it - practice and mastery. The 8 different modules, or learning activities, offer a variety of useful methods to unlock pupil success through regular practice.
Most people who have used Quizlet have done so in terms of flashcards; indeed this was the way I found out about it. One of my GCSE students wanted to learn her Religious Studies keywords and searched for online, digital flashcards, finding Quizlet and then sharing that with me. The whole cohort of 200 students were encouraged to use this method as an ongoing homework activity and many of the departmental staff used it as starter and plenary activities throughout the course.
I heard from many languages teachers and those teaching where English is an Additional Language that the Write and Spell functions are amazing for correcting spelling and the phonetic learning elements of the curriculum. Indeed, of Quizlet's 50 million worldwide users, a great percentage are from these subjects.
I have often advocated the use of Google Forms as low-stakes, self-marking quizzing, which gives immediate feedback and informs future teaching and learning. I stand by the fact that if you are creating quizzes or tests from scratch and want to use this data as assessment or report information, then Forms is probably still the best option. That said, Quizlet are clear that their Test tool is not for the teacher to check learning per se but for the learner to test themselves and find out how well they understand a topic. This makes this quick, self-generating and -marking aspect really useful.
Gamification has long been seen as an untapped but powerful element of learning and indeed I have discussed this in previous posts. The next two modules on the list do just this. Gravity and Match are simple games that check understanding against the clock and allow students to 'test' themselves in a fun, yet competitive manner. Gravity is a little like Tetris or Asteroids and Match is very much a drag and drop card-matching game. These were very popular with the students I tried them with in school.
The final element is Quizlet Live - the collaborative classroom game which puts students in groups of four to play as a team - they are allocated to play as fun animal characters rather than risking inappropriate team names! Teachers can create their own content for a game, or use any one of the millions of sets already on Quizlet. Students must communicate together about what's on their screen to choose the correct answers, making it truly collaborative and aim to win each question. Each student has a role on the team, and therefore Quizlet Live games don't favour only individual students who answer the fastest and encourage all players to participate (like some other quizzing apps - no names mentioned - that only have the top 5 or 6 students listed on the board). This element makes whole class learning engaging and fun! There is a live leaderboard which shows the progress of the teams too to incentivise this further.
So Quizlet is a brilliant tool, offered to students and teachers for FREE (yes there is no cost for this tool unless you want the Premium version which allows teachers to have that granular oversight of student progress that some desire - I didn't really ever use this function but I can see why it might be useful). There are well over 300 million sets for a range of topics and subjects in 19 languages at the time of writing, with new languages, sets and features being added continuously. There is quantifiable evidence that this works too.
I am a big fan and I know the wonderful team over there in San Francisco would love to hear how you are using it so do let them and give them a shoutout on social media too - I know they will love that!