Vol. 14, Issue 2, December 2013

Tech Tools

by David Parker

Quizlet: An Exciting Tool for Language Study

What is it?

Quizlet (http://www.quizlet.com) is a free online learning tool in which users create information sets that can be studied in a variety of ways, including flash cards, online quizzes, and memory games. The site enables users to maximize their study time by tracking their mastery of the information and repeating what they haven’t mastered. While the site can be used to study information in any academic subject, it is ideal for language learners because it is fully customizable, multilingual, and engaging for learners of anyage. Areas of language learning that require rote memorization, such as new vocabulary or grammar forms, become interesting and, dare I say, exciting using Quizlet.

New users to Quizlet can browse sets that have already been created by existing users or create new sets quickly and easily. Simply click “Create” in the menu bar at the top of the screen to go to the “Create a New Set” page. On this page, add a title and description at the top and enter your terms at the bottom. You can set the language for bilingual sets and add images. There is no limit to the number of terms you can add to a set (or at least I haven’t hit the limit yet!) Once you create your set, click “Continue” at the bottom of the page. You will have to create an account to save your set for future use. Then, you will be able to use all the features available to study the set you have created.

The developers of Quizlet have really done their homework to make studying the sets engaging and rewarding. Users can study with virtual flashcards with audio playback of the text or print them out for offline access. They can use the “Learn” and “Speller” function to quiz themselves, track sets they haven’t learned, and repeat them until they get them right. They can create practice tests with fill in the blank, matching, multiple choice, and true/false sections. They can play the matching games “Scatter” and “Space Race” to compete with other users for the highest score. The study features successfully combine repetition, the use of multiple skills (listening, reading, and typing), and competition to make learning seem effortless.

How Do I Use It?

One of many great features of Quizlet is creating classes for organizing your sets. If I want to share certain sets with my grammar class and other sets with my reading class, I can do it easily. I invite my students to join the class by entering an email or by sending them a private link to the class site. After the students join the site, I can track their learning progress and the amount of time they spend using the site. To make studying even easier, students can download the Quizlet app for iOS or Android on their smartphone. Then, they can choose to study their reading vocabulary instead of another round of Candy Crush!

David Parker is the Senior Language Educator at The Language Connection, St. John’s University, Queens campus. He has been working in intensive English programs for five years. He previously served as e-learning coordinator at the Center for English Language and Literature for International Students (CELCIS) at Western Michigan University.

To contact David about this article, please send an email to dialogue@nystesol.org

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