Ed Tech #1: Quizlet

What is it?

Quizlet is a website that allows you to create “study sets,” and then gives you various options for practicing and mastering those study sets. Simply speaking, it’s an online flashcard creator (although you can do quite a bit more with it). Anyone can set up a free account, but you can get an annual membership for $19.99/year if you want more features.

How does it work?

Quizlet offers video tutorials, although it is intuitive enough that mastering the basics without viewing tutorials is definitely possible. I created a sample set, using cooking terms. Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like when you enter terms:

Screen shot that shows Quizlet interface with terms on the left, and definitions/images of those terms on the right.
Creating sets in Quizlet

 

You can see that Quizlet lets you create a title, and change visibility settings. You can also import your list of terms from Word, Excel, Google Docs, and other sources. You can easily rearrange the terms, flip terms and definitions, use languages other than English (helpful for foreign language courses), or add pictures or audio to the definition column (you can see the small thumbnail of my images to the right). Quizlet made it particularly easy to add images to my set, since it will search CC-licensed images for you. As you can see at the top, Quizlet also has a “diagram” feature so that you can learn terms associated with a diagram. Another feature I like is that you can search for sets people have already created. No need to re-invent the wheel if Creative Commons resources are available!

Once I’ve created my set, Quizlet gives a number of ways to practice and master those terms:

Screen Shot of Quizlet study options

The “Learn” study option combines the flashcards, write (which is fill-in-the-blank), spell, and test (multiple choice) options. “Match” and “Gravity” are simple games that also help students practice the terms. They can be used collaboratively through Quizlet live or a Google classroom integration. Students compete with one another with a classroom leaderboard.

Check it Out

You can share your Quizlet set via Facebook, Twitter, email, or through a link. You can also embed your set directly within a website, as I’ve done here with my sample set (click “Choose a Study Mode” to see what some of the other study modes are like):

Limitations, Strengths, and Applications

Quizlet is designed to help students master and practice terms. As such, it will never move up past the “remember” and “understand” levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, and it would not be my choice for helping students learn difficult content. But, what it does, it does well. I also like that this a tool students can easily use for their own studying; it doesn’t have to be teacher-directed or integrated into a course for students to take advantage of it.

If instructors do wish to use Quizlet in online learning, Quizlet can be integrated directly into Canvas (the LMS that my institution uses). Since the Quizlet app in Canvas doesn’t link up to a Quizlet login, you have to make your set publicly available and then search for that specific set. In Canvas forums, some instructors complained that they couldn’t find their sets because of this limitation. Consequently, if I had a faculty member who wanted to use Quizlet in their online course, I’d probably recommend bypassing the Canvas integration and just embedding their Quizlet set directly into a page in Canvas or sharing the link with students.

As for its practical use, obviously, instructors could simply create and offer Quizlet sets for students to use, ungraded, as they study for an exam or review content. Actually assigning assessment value for Quizlet activities could be more challenging. A few ideas: instructors could ask students to create and share their own sets, or take advantage of the classroom leaderboard feature.

Overall, I think this is a great tool for online instructors who want to give students a more interactive option for independent review of terms or diagrams. Too, Quizlet would be particularly useful in online learning modules that depend heavily on terms or vocabulary. For example, nursing faculty could use it for a medical terminology course or Spanish instructors could use it for vocab practice. Otherwise, its application is more limited to individual student study and review.

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10 Comments

  1. This is a great blog post! I love how you included the screenshots. I think this would be a great tool for students. My school is specifically working on ways to teach students (8th grade in particular) how to study and ease the transition into high school. I will recommend this to my staff.

  2. I appreciate that you went over the pros and cons of Quizlet. Also, I like the visuals! This is definitely an app that I could see using in my classroom. Even though, like you said, it focuses on the remember and understand levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, it could be something to possibly review terms with students before moving to the more complex levels of Bloom’s. And I like the idea of having students use it to create their own quizzes.

  3. Valerie
    I really liked that you included pictures – made it much more understandable. I don’t think I quite followed the embedding Quizlet into Canvas – but it is something to research down the road. I do think this could be a great way for my students to practice vocabulary or new terms associated with whatever we are studying in English. My big problem teaching teenagers is of course getting them to stay on the intended software and not switch to email and texting the minute my back is turned. However, I have heard of Quizlet before so I think this is something I need to pursue.I really liked the idea that you mentioned of kids creating their own quizlets! Do you know if this works on a Chromebook? We switched to Chromebook this year at my school and I find them rather difficult to get along with other companies software… Tracy

    1. Hi Tracy! Thanks for your comments! I should’ve explained the Canvas integration better – Canvas has certain apps built in, and Quizlet is one of them. However, it doesn’t really work that well since you have to just search publicly available sets once you activate the Quizlet app in Canvas. That’s why I’d recommend just embedding sets and not bothering with the Canvas app. You make a good point that students often get distracted by tech – it’s certainly something to weigh the pros and cons of before introducing in a classroom. I’d imagine that if you attached point value to it (ie students create their own sets), or otherwise found ways to make it clear who is/isn’t doing the work (ie having students participate in some of the games), that would hold them a little more accountable. I imagine it would work fine on a Chromebook since all you’d need is a browser and internet access! Quizlet also has IOS and Android apps, but I’m not sure if there’s a specific app for Chromebook.

  4. Great post! You really explained the app well. I’m familiar with Quizlet and have created quiz sets around a volcano unit. It’s been awhile since I have used Quizlet and I didn’t know about the sharing feature and how it can integrate with Google Classroom. That will be something that I will have to look into. I can post my Quizlets to social media so parents can see them and practice with their students.

  5. I like the post and want to follow up with the comments. I think that after having some experience with Quizlet, the students could create their own from topics you will cover in class with the purpose that their classmates will have to take these Quizlets. This could expand the experience beyond the understand and remember levels. It might also encourage less wandering in the technology. You might even get some traction out of the competition to have the best Quizlets to post. Just some thoughts on this.

  6. My students use quizlet for terms quite often. I will often ask them if they want to create the sets themselves and give some EC for doing so. There are also lots of good premade sets that students use.

  7. I use Quizlet with my 4th graders for test and skill review and they love it! I agree that it is really good for learning vocabulary. I have used it for both science and math vocabulary. I haven’t used it for study sets, but I think I will look into that feature. I also like what you wrote about having students create their own sets. That is a great idea!

  8. Beautiful Blog, you are inspiring me to clean mine up!

    Quizlet looks great. For some reason I have been avoiding it, I think I am remembering the old version from way back when I was an elementary student. It is so interesting how important clean visuals are for a good learning experience.

    Have you ever had students make their own Quizlets? There might be a way to get higher up on Blooms. Maybe have students read a book, make a quiz then trade?

    1. Hi Rachel, I’m actually the oddball out in this course in that I am not a classroom teacher. I am instructional designer at a university, so I help college instructors develop online courses. So I personally have not had students make their own Quizlets. But- I agree with you- I think that would be a great way to encourage deeper learning using Quizlet! Especially if you integrate a partner/group aspect, as you suggest.

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