iPods in Education Part 11: Digital Flash Cards

Posted: January 8, 2009 in iPod in Education, mobilelearning, multiple intelligences, tools
Tags: ,

This blog post is in response to all the digital flash card websites that I’ve been coming across lately that are offering teachers digital flash cards for iPod for a fee.  There is an easy option for teachers and students to create their own digital flash cards that is totally free.

Obviously, the concept of using flash cards is not new.  Traditionally, flash cards are paper cards that have questions on one side and answers on the other.  They have been used as a way to help student reinforce curricular learning, to study for tests and to make studying a little more visual (addressing needs of visual learners).  However, with the advent of digital media devices, many educators and students are creating digital versions of flash cards and placing them on digital media devices such as an iPod to help student take their study tools with them.

Ultimately, digital flash cards that are placed on an iPod are images and ‘flipping’ the card is simply moving from one image to the next. To create a flash card, one can use a variety of tools but the easiest for this purpose is to use slide presentation software such as MS PowerPoint or Keynote.  A teacher, or student, can place the question on one slide and the solution on the next.  This process can continue until all the needed flash cards are created in one single MS PowerPoint or Keynote file.  The trick is to save the slides as separate images: when saving the file, change the file type to .jpg image format.  An image taken from PowerPoint is seen below.

Save PP Slides as JPG images

As long as the files are named in such a way as the file name containing a question is in higher alphabetical order than the file name containing the answer, then the questions will always appear before their answers.  For example, flash card 1 can have a file name Warof1812 – Qu1q for the question and a file name Warof1812 – Qu1s (s meaning solution) for the answer.  Having a consistent naming convention will make finding files easy and ensure that the questions always display before the answers.

The images can be uploaded into iTunes and sent to the iPod as usual. The flash cards will appear in the Photos area of the iPod.  For more information on this topic, listen to episode #9 and #10 of Tony Vincent’s Learning in Hand Podcast.

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