Study websites: which to use and when

Posted: January 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

To begin my 2011 ed tech challenge, I did two reviews of websites that aim to help students study. The first week I took a look at HeadMagnet, and last week I reviewed StudyBlue.  I found both of these websites to be great new ways to get even the most reluctant of students review and studying their notes.

There are, of course, plenty of other apps to help students study. There are tools available for cell phones, ipod touches and ipads. With that being said, I believe that I picked two of the best to review and present to my students. I believe that there’s a place for both StudyBlue and HeadMagnet in any classroom, and I intend to use both regularly in my courses from now on.

Like I mentioned in my reviews, I’ve found that both websites have unique strengths:

HeadMagnet is an excellent tool when used regularly to review concepts and ideas. Its ability to help students predict what they will forget can help them review concepts for long-term recollection and understanding, rather than just cramming for a test the next day.

StudyBlue is a great website for on-the-go students who want to have their notes available to them anytime, anywhere. There is also the collaborative function that I found to be slightly easier to use than HeadMagnet’s.

My plan for the future is to use both sites, which is made easy by the fortunate fact that both allow you to import notes. Beginning next semester I plan to have students create a database with terms, vocabulary, and concepts. The students will decide for themselves which items to include in their spreadsheets (This will be effective because I teach at the high school level, if I taught younger students I would give them a list of items to use). From there they will have the option to upload their spreadsheet onto HeadMagnet so that they can review as often as they need to.

For my younger students, whose study skills are still developing, I plan to give marks if they can demonstrate to me that they have been using either StudyBlue or HeadMagnet before a test. For older students I will simply verify that they’ve completed the spreadsheet, and let them use it if they choose.

I have great hopes that this system will help students to learn concepts in the long-term.

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