Flashcards designed to flip
conventional teaching methods
Many modern classrooms rely on reading, writing and lectures to impart information. These methods are more suited to those students with a preference for auditory learning. The consequence for those with a preference for the visual is that they may struggle to keep pace with the class.
How do flashcards work in the classroom?
Active recall involves actively stimulating memory during the learning process. It contrasts with passive review, where information is processed passively – for example by reading or watching. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that active recall is a very quick, efficient and effective way for students to learn.
One of the studies most often cited is called “The Critical Importance of Retrieval for Learning”, published in 2008. Basically, a group of college students were each given the same 40 foreign language vocabulary word pairs to learn and then tested on their recall. A week later, they were tested again. It was found that those students who were guided to use active recall were able to remember about 80% of the words compared to 34% for the control group.
Flashcards are also an ideal tool for providing feedback. When a teacher gives a student feedback about the accuracy of their answer, it gives the student the opportunity to reflect on their learning “Yes! I understand” or “No. I don’t”. This act of self-reflection is known as metacognition.
Metacognition is essentially thinking about one’s thinking. It is associated with improved learning outcomes and also determines whether students can transfer their learning to new scenarios. This is the sort of thinking that gets students beyond surface learning and drives them to deeper understanding.
Why use flashcards for teaching?
Flashcards can assist with teaching in a variety of ways. Words are abstract and therefore more difficult for the brain to retain. In comparison, visuals are concrete and more easily remembered. Using visuals can increase the rate at which your student learns and also improve their ability to comprehend, remember and retrieve information.
Another reason flashcards are popular with parents and teachers is because they are easily accessible, portable and inexpensive. Plus, they can be used for a range of teaching purposes with a variety of students.
Flashcard activities for teaching
Flashcards can be used in many ways to teach a variety of concepts. Here are some examples:
I write speech and language goals for children. These cards have made my life so much easier. The variety of topics is helpful. And the real-life images provide great context. I hope this company continues to make more sets. I’d be sure to buy them.