Newsflash on Flashcards: New Ideas for Vocabulary Studies

More variations on flashcards are possible thanks to both online and offline tools. The very process of creating flashcards helps students remember words, definitions, and spellings. If a model sentence is included for each key word, then usage is also better understood and remembered. What I like seeing today is the use of multimedia, and in particular the use of images. Here are just three possibilities:

  • PowerPoint presentations allow the coupling of text and images as well as text and music. File sharing would allow students to view one another’s slideshows. Instead of traditional 2-sided flashcards, consider having students create sets of 4 slides per word: (1) an image that evokes the key word, (2) key word, (3) definition, (4) model sentence. The sequence is logical for a self-check: What word do you associate with the picture? > How do you spell that word? > What’s the definition of that word? > Can you use the word in a sentence?


  • Blog posts allow for a one-page collection of media for a set of words. Take for example this student’s post on collocations. I like the emphasis being on the use of phrases rather than single words. Blog posts allow viewers to comment and correct, and the study of vocabulary becomes a collective effort.


  • Voicethread is a tool I’d like to experiment more with. If you’re in need of a quick tutorial, click here for one offered by Radford University.  I see possibilities for vocabulary study using Voicethread. Do you? Perhaps you already have used Voicethread  for this purpose. If so, what was your approach? I can see a collection of images selected and published by the teacher. One option is to have students post audio, video, or text comments using one of the assigned key words from a lesson. A second option is for the teacher to post a question or set of questions that use target vocabulary. Students would be asked to post their answers.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Google has a wonderful flashcard application. You need to have an iPhone, but it’s really great. Hopefully, it’ll be available on other devices soon:)


    1. englishwithjennifer says:

      Wow! That’s convenient. Also, iPhones are almost the size of a traditional index card, making the experience more familiar to some. Could one user share his/ her set of cards with another?

      1. I think so. You can download templates, so it should be possible to share as well. But, not actually owning an iPhone, I’m not 100% on that:)


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