Let’s face it; we have all crammed the night before an exam at some point in our lives. Most of us had probably been told by teachers or relatives that cramming is not the solution to succeeding. As teachers, do we really want our students for pull an all-nighter cramming for one of our exams? The answer is most probably no. The thing is that the people who told us not to cram never taught us effective ways so as not to cram. We were just told not to start studying the eve of an exam. Drawing on my personal experience I find it more effective to ask myself questions about the subject matter days or weeks before the exam and to read simply my notes the day before. I think that showing our students to create flashcards is a good way to prepare them for an exam without cramming like hell the night before. Cram is the solution!
The user needs to create an account. From there, he/she can create his/her own flashcards. There is also the possibility to browse already-made flashcards by subject. In one’s account, the user can, as mentioned earlier, create flashcards. When creating them, the user has to give a name to the set of flashcards to be created. The subject also needs to be written. A description can be written, but this feature is optional. One good thing about this tool is that it is very easy to use. When creating flashcards, the user has to, of course, edit the front and the back of the card. Images can be added to a flashcard. There is the possibility to use a language keyboard which can come in handy when it comes to learning a language that uses symbols that we do not have on our regular keyboards. Three-sided cards can be created as well if need be. Once a set of flashcards is created, it is added to the dashboard from where the user can manage the sets of flashcards he/she has created. There are four options so as to study a set of flashcards. 1) One can simply read a flashcard and click on the keyboard’s arrows to flip it in order to see its reverse side. 2) One can use the Memorize option that allows the user to be shown a flashcard and then say if he/she had the good answer or not. This can come in handy because the user is shown the result, out of 100%, that he/she obtained when a whole set of flashcards has been covered . 3) There is also the Test option. Basically, the questions and answers of a flashcard are given and the user has to match them together. 4) The Game option allows the user literally “play” a game. Cram uses the flashcards from a chosen set and creates a game with it. It is to be noted that the created sets of flashcards can be edited at anytime. If the user choose a specific set to be “public”, any person can find it by using the website’s search bar. This tool also has a smartphone application. Therefore, students can carry their flashcards everywhere they go.
Why should we tell our students to use interactive flashcards? According Jeff Burke, “flashcards appeal to a variety of learners.” It is interactive and it makes students “practice” rather than learn everything by heart. Flashcards can also be used across all kinds of subjects. Jeff Burke points out that “93% teens ages 12-17 [use] the Internet.” It tells the importance of incorporating technology in the classroom. Using electronic flashcards is one of the solutions. This website shows useful tips as to how to effectively create flashcards. For example, a teacher can show those tips to his/her students in the attempts to showing them how to prepare for an exam. One of the tips is to “keep your flashcards simple”. A teacher can also make students practice how to synthesize information enough to put it on a flashcard. Since Cram allows its users to make their flashcards accessible to everyone, a teacher can verify if his/her students have understood the concept of synthesizing the information by asking them to make their flashcards public and check these afterwards. Student can use the flashcards they have created to study in view of an upcoming exam.
In my opinion, Cram is a very effective tool when it comes to preparing for exams. As a university student and future teacher, I will certainly use it both as a student and as a teacher. I love the four study options given by this tool, especially the game one. According to the author of this website, “flashcards can often become boring when used repetitively without altering the way that they are used.” This is why it is good to create games with the flashcards. We always learn more when we play than when we re-read our notes endlessly. With the sharing feature, I will surely create flashcards myself and tell my ESL students to search for them in order to practice for exams. The fact that Cram possesses an application is good because students have access to any set of flashcards anywhere they go.
In conclusion, Cram is a great tool that is easy to use. It allows the user to create unlimited amounts of flashcards. It is a good tool to make students aware of because it gives them the possibility to review the subject matter in a playful way, which does not involve cramming the night before an exam. Moreover, it gives them pointers as to whether they understand or not. By using online flashcards, they can study anywhere they want without having to carry real sets of flashcards with them; everything is on their phone.