For the last few years, I’ve had the privilege of serving on the Washington DC board of the International Dyslexia Association. One of my fellow board members, Sonya Atkinson, gave a fantastic presentation called “A Guide to Creating Your Digital Backpack.”
In it she shared a wealth of information about using technology to become more organized and to study more efficiently.
One of the programs she reviewed, StudyBlue, is a tool that many of our tutors have used successfully with students, and even more importantly, it’s one that students enjoy using!
After Sonya’s workshop, I asked her a few quick questions about the ins and outs of StudyBlue, and about the differences between StudyBlue vs Quizlet.
Why is StudyBlue so popular?
Sonya: StudyBlue is both a web-based program and an application that can be downloaded to any device regardless of your platform. It allows you to do note-taking and then turn your notes into digital flashcards. You can study your flashcards in a simple flashcard way or you can actually take a test and do a multiple choice test or a fill in the answer. The software will score it and send you your results.
How can StudyBlue help students study more efficiently?
Sonya: The software will keep track of how many you’re getting right and how many you’re getting wrong. When you go back to study from that deck again, you have the option of studying the entire deck or just studying the items you answered incorrectly. That way you’re just focusing on the ones you don’t know rather than the ones you do.
Can you attach audio information since so many students learn well auditorally?
Sonya: When you’re creating a flashcard you have the option of uploading an image. That can be something from your files or you can literally pull something, anything from the internet. You can incorporate that into your flashcard. You can also voice record, so there’s an option to just say the answer to the flash card and then it just saves your voice. Students can also record what they’re reading on the flashcard. You can study by listening to yourself.
That sounds very multi-sensory. You also mentioned that other people upload their flashcards so that students can view others’ information. Can you tell us how that works?
Sonya: When you are making the flashcard deck and you are saving it you have the option of saving it either publically or privately. It defaults to a public save. That way, you can search for other flashcards that are available on the public domain. You are pulling from notes that students or teachers have made and you can download that information into your own flashcard set.
Can StudyBlue motivate kids to study?
Sonya: A lot of my students, such as those taking high school biology, have a lot to memorization. StudyBlue allows them to make flash cards directly from their notes. It saves time because it’s as simple as copy and paste. They don’t have to retype the information; the flashcard decks are created instantaneously. Another feature that is available in StudyBlue is auto population of definitions.
Say you are working on the Krebs Cycle in biology. When you are making the flash card and you type in “Krebs Cycle,” the program will automatically bring up all the other definitions that have been created by other users. You can just take one of those, you can use the definition from your notes, or you can type in your own response. Once you’ve built that flash card, on the other side a whole bunch of other terms related to Krebs Cycle will also auto populate. More often than not, those are all the terms you will need to know.
StudyBlue vs Quizlet: StudyBlue sounds a bit like Quizlet. What’s the big difference?
For me, I find that the big difference is that you can do your note taking right in StudyBlue. In Quizlet you have to input all of the digital flashcards yourself. I know that they have an upload option, I believe if you put it in a two-column format in excel you can upload the file and make flashcards.
But that’s a little tricky and you have to know how to use excel to manipulate that. With StudyBlue you can take your notes right in the program itself; however many students use a basic Word document, google drive, Evernote, or something of the like. What’s neat is that you can also upload those notes and then make your note cards right in StudyBlue.
Is StudyBlue is more robust than Quizlet?
In my experience, yes. I think the kids who tend to use Quizlet are younger and utilize it only for its flashcard interface. Many students don’t know of StudyBlue and all the rich features it has since it’s newer to the marketplace.
What’s your experience?
Have you or your kids used StudyBlue or Quizlet? What has been your experience? And do you have any other favorite study apps you like to use?
Leave a comment below!