For me, the clever flash card app (and website) called Quizlet, is about as convenient as educational technology can get. Not only is creating study sets simple, the fact that there are auto-defintions to choose from (no need to switch languages!) and built-in picture options saves a lot of time. So easy to learn to use!
Add to that the fact that my deaf and hard of hearing high-school students are completely (and understandably ) addicted to their cell phones. Some of them don’t even have working computers at home anymore. Everything is done on the cell phone. Since my students also have a lot of trouble remembering vocabulary, I decided to add Quizlet to our program. It works on Android and Apple phones. I even treated myself to the paid version so I could easily track students’ progress.
I’m ashamed to say that I thought there wouldn’t really be any woes worth mentioning when implementing THIS Edtech.
First there were a lot of problems getting the students to join the classes I opened on Quizlet. Those who opened an account and joined the class on the class computer BEFORE downloading the app on their phone had no problem. However, those who downloaded the app before I sent them the invitation to join the class did not find the invitation when entering the app and did not join. I tried telling them to refresh the app to see the invitation but some had promptly forgotten their login information (despite my requests to write it down). By using the classroom computer we solved that problem, one student at a time. Good thing I only have 45 students in all three grades!
I have an Android phone. Students using Apple phones didn’t find the invitation link I sent via WhatsApp to be clickable. Luckily a student showed everyone that when they forward the message back to me, the link becomes clickable.
Some students registered using the Facebook account. Which is a huge advantage over losing your login information every lesson! But the user name students receive by registering this way is a number, not their name. I had to make a list in my diary of the students who registered through Facebook and their corresponding names (except for the ones with a very clear picture). A one time thing, to be sure.
Only two students immediately deleted the app after class, being annoyed that I’m taking up space in their phones. But many didn’t pay attention to the app (even though I told them that I’m using words and phrases from their exams!) until I began showing them Quizlet’s reports on student progress. The fact that they can’t just argue with me that they DID use the app when I said they didn’t is powerful. I get a report detailing students’ activity on the app. This fact has begun to sink in!
As of today I have a new “woe”. After some time has passed, I remove old sets of words / phrases from classes when adding new ones. I get a progress report for each set. So I don’t look at sets that have been removed. However, it turns out that unless students refresh the app, the previous sets remain. Some students practiced the old sets and I thought they hadn’t used the app at all because I no longer checked those sets.
I still think that choosing Quizlet was the right decision. But implementing it is not the “piece of cake” I expected.