For my second learning tool exploration, I decided to search for something that would not only benefit myself as a teacher, but also a tool that could be utilized by my students as well. I began to search for SmartPhone applications because of the growing number of younger students who have and are able to efficiently work or play on their phones. Thinking back upon our previous modules one key aspect that continued to stand out towards me was in Module 2 about Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. The multiple intelligences approach should be in alignment with the individual’s stronger intelligence so that understanding and learning can come easier and be done with greater enthusiasm (Christensen, Johnson, & Horn, 2011). I stumbled across a free application called Brainscape more specifically the flashcardlet function. Brainscape in an application that allows users to create and share your flashcards and explore the expert content Brainscape has to offer, though this content was limited. There is a free flashcardlet app as well that allows users to create simple flashcards on their SmartPhone devices. On this separate application you can download other user’s flashcards specifically for your devices as well.
What I valued most about these applications is that it provides students with another method for learning new material and is conveniently done so on their SmartPhones or tablets. I can either create my own set of flashcards for students to use or use flashcard sets already made by other users that would help students further learn the particular topic. These flashcards can be large decks in number and can include images and sounds as well. Furthermore, having flashcard decks already made for students to use will save students time. Not only can these applications be used by my students, but as teachers we need to continually learn as well. I can use these applications to study up on a topic that I may be a bit rusty on or just need to be simply reminded on key elements.
Some challenges with these applications are that to create any sort of flashcards with images or sounds you must do it online at Brainscape.com. It said that syncing between ones Brainscape account and Flashcardlet account will be done automatically, but I was unable to figure out how to do so. The tutorials and help online were very limited, so it was frustrating that two applications that are to compliment each other were not syncing. Additionally, with anything free comes the advertisements which is a drawback for these apps.
Another positive to both applications is the ease to storing and sharing of flashcard decks. This can be achieved through using Dropbox or emailing flashcards to the intended recipients.
One of the challenging things with any sort of SmartPhone or tablet application is that not every student has access to these types of technology. This application is currently only available for iPad, iPhone, and iTouch. I think that Flashcardlet can be a great tool for students to learn and study about any topic and they can conveniently do so wherever as long as they have the device. Brainscape seemed more geared towards older students or for teachers but the flashcardlet app could be beneficial for younger students wanting to use flashcards on their devices.
Christensen, C., Johnson, C.W., & Horn, M.B. (2011). Disrupting class: how disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns (kindle). McGraw-Hill.